Top Liverpool star facing ‘career-deciding’ Man City clash, as pundit lays out double concern

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to miss several Liverpool games

The Manchester City vs Liverpool game later on Saturday is crucial in a host of ways, and now Stan Collymore has suggested it could decide where Reds star Trent Alexander-Arnold plays for the rest of his career.

Alexander-Arnold played as a midfielder in Liverpool’s youth setup. However, for a majority of his time in the senior squad, he has operated at right-back.

Manager Jurgen Klopp knows, though, that Alexander-Arnold has the passing ability required to shine in midfield. As such, the 25-year-old has been tested further forward on several occasions, but this has left Liverpool weakened at right-back.

As a compromise, Klopp has begun using Alexander-Arnold in a hybrid right-back/midfield role, to ensure that Liverpool get some benefit from his passing range while also remaining fairly strong in defence.

Alexander-Arnold’s ability to defend has come into question following several Liverpool defeats in the past, and the trip to Man City on Saturday lunchtime will likely push him to the limit.

Alexander-Arnold will come up against electric City winger Jeremy Doku, who is gradually emerging into an integral player for Pep Guardiola. Doku even managed one goal and four assists during City’s 6-1 thrashing of Bournemouth on November 4.

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In his column for CaughtOffside, former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest striker Collymore has discussed the Reds and Alexander-Arnold in particular.

He is worried that the Englishman may struggle to deal with Doku, as Klopp cannot afford to double up on the Belgium international in case this leaves Liverpool stretched in other areas.

Pundit ‘looking forward’ to one Liverpool, Man City battle

And if Doku runs the show for City, then Alexander-Arnold could essentially ‘announce himself as a midfielder’.

‘I am really, really looking forward to seeing how Trent Alexander-Arnold deals with the likes of Jeremy Doku,’ Collymore wrote.

‘In my opinion, Doku looks to be one of the most exciting wingers in the country. He’s explosive, very quick with his feet and can create as well as score himself — another truly great buy from City.

‘But can Alexander-Arnold deal with him? – I’m not so sure he can. Time will tell of course, but I think where the Reds could come undone is by Jurgen Klopp instructing Alexander-Arnold to manage Doku by himself because he’ll know he can’t risk pulling a midfielder out of position to help double up.

‘If Liverpool do that, they run the risk of being overrun in the middle of the park, and against City with the likes of Bernardo Silva and Rodri, you may as well just forget it.

‘So it’s going to be really interesting to see how both sides approach those wide positions. Alexander-Arnold will either prove his critics wrong and keep the likes of Doku at bay, or he’ll effectively announce himself as a midfielder. Definitely one to watch this weekend.’

Today’s game could also go a long way in deciding where the Premier League title ends up this season. City sit top of the table on 28 points, though Liverpool are right behind on 27. Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are also close by and make up the rest of the top five.

Meanwhile, Liverpool reportedly hold ‘concrete interest’ in a top-class winger as they look for potential Mo Salah replacements.