Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has lamented Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive capabilities, describing them as ‘Championship-level’.
In this period, the Englishman contributed to the Reds’ first ever Premier League title triumph, as well as playing an integral part in the club’s Champions League victory in 2019.
The 23-year-old has been praised for his incredible passing ability, as well his outstandingly productive creativity from right-back, registering 62 assists across all competitions since his debut in 2016.
However, many have questioned the defensive side of the playmaker’s game, with his positioning and ability to deal with direct wide players often scrutinised.
This criticism has been widespread so far this season, with many deeming him culpable in the concession of goals in games Liverpool have lost this campaign.
One of Alexander-Arnold’s most recent critics, Lebouef, told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche this: “Look at Trent Alexander-Arnold. I love the guy, his offensive qualities. But defensively, he’s Championship level.
“Only (Jurgen) Klopp’s system works for him. When it doesn’t work as well as it has this season, all you see is his defensive shortcomings.
“I want to take him with me to work on the basics. I would say to him, ‘turn your head and look behind you, it will be better already’”.
While Lebouef’s criticism of Alexander-Arnold’s defending may be valid, Championship level may be a little bit harsh.
With the value he gives the Reds in possession, Klopp probably considers a few defensive lapses in concentration a sacrifice he’s willing to make.
However, with the World Cup in Qatar fast approaching, the defensive side of his game must be on the right-back’s mind.
Gareth Southgate is blessed with an array of options in this position, including Kyle Walker, Reece James and Kieran Trippier, and Alexander-Arnold has just been left out of the manager's squad to face Germany.
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