Out-of-form Trent Alexander-Arnold needs a rest at Liverpool, according to former Reds goalkeeper David James.
James believes the 22-year-old full-back needs a “breather” after he struggled in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Monday night.
Alexander-Arnold was hooked by Jurgen Klopp on 77 minutes as Liverpool struggled to break down their resilient opponents.
The right-back has had a remarkable rise to the top at Anfield, but he was well off the pace at St Mary’s.
He allowed a chipped free-kick over his head to allow Danny Ings to clip in the winning goal. He also gave the ball away a staggering 38 times against the Saints – a Premier League record this season.
The England star has made over 150 appearances for the Reds and he will be hoping to be Gareth Southgate’s first choice England right-back this summer.
James though thinks he needs taking out of the firing line and thinks the FA Cup may represent the perfect opportunity to do so.
“This is an interesting player. He came into the Liverpool side young, was forced into the side more than by choice, and he hit the ground running,” James told Stadium Astro.
“He got loads of plaudits and was an integral part of Liverpool’s success in the Premier League, Champions League, World Club Championship and has represented England.
“He’s not a bad player, but at the same time he hasn’t had any respite. He had the injury earlier in the season but young players are going to have off form. Unfortunately for Trent he is going through that.
“Maybe the injury he picked up against Manchester City, calf strain, he hasn’t been used to anything else other than playing for Liverpool, and then an injury takes him into a different space. I don’t think he has recovered from that mentally or in his normal life habit.
“What you don’t want is to have a bad run of form that results in losses, and this was a loss. Jurgen Klopp is very honest in his assessment and stopped short of saying Trent could’ve kicked the ball away (for Danny Ings’ goal). But he brought him off, which was a surprise in some eyes.
FA Cup clash could be ideal rest time
“For Trent, as a young player, there is an argument that you could take him out of the firing line for a week or two. The FA Cup is coming up, maybe that is a good opportunity to let him settle down.”
The Reds face Aston Villa on Friday in the FA Cup third round and that could be an ideal game to give the player a rest.
Liverpool then face rivals Manchester United on January 17 in a crunch clash at the top of the Premier League table.
“For Gareth Southgate, he will be asking whether Trent is the right player to bring back into the England squad right now. He might need a break,” added James.
“Trent didn’t offer anything. The crossing opportunities weren’t good enough.
“Everyone is entitled to one bad game. Trent’s performances of late, when you collect them together, haven’t been great.
“Do you drop him, or do you rest him? The word dropped sounds somewhat final. I think it’s giving someone a breather. I think he needs a rest.”