- Alexander-Arnold is Liverpool’s main source of creativeness, which is unusual for a full-back again.
- His screen towards Leicester on Thursday showed how distinctive he is.
- A move into midfield would not go well with a participant who is thriving where he is.
It was supposed to be a challenging test for Liverpool. A vacation to experience next-placed Leicester is not clear-cut at the very best of times, let by itself as the 1st activity back again immediately after a mid-season vacation to Qatar. However, influenced by the sensational Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool built light-weight work of Brendan Rodgers’ side on Thursday. They are now 13 details distinct at the best of the Premier League table.
Alexander-Arnold himself explained this as Liverpool’s very best efficiency of the season. It is hard to disagree. The Reds controlled the match from begin to end. They designed numerous scoring chances and conceded number of at the other end. A 4- victory did not flatter them in the slightest.
Most remarkable of all was Alexander-Arnold’s screen. The 21-year-previous scored a person objective, provided two assists, and shipped the corner from which Liverpool won a penalty. It was a superb demonstrating from a participant who is reinventing the ideal-back again position just before our really eyes.
The evolution of the ideal-back again position
There was at the time a time when ideal-back again was the most unfashionable place on the pitch. Jamie Carragher memorably mocked his Sky Sporting activities colleague by declaring that “no a person desires to develop up and be a Gary Neville,” but there was logic driving the jibe. In a long time long gone by, ideal-backs tended to be transformed wingers or centre-halves – like Neville himself.
That commenced to change in the 1990s, when full-backs progressively took on greater attacking tasks. Forward-pondering ideal-backs experienced existed just before then, from Djalma Santos and Carlos Alberto to Wim Suurbier and Manfred Kaltz, but it was the final decade of the final century that brought about widespread change.
Attacking ideal-backs has turn out to be commonplace given that then. Cafu’s lung-busting, overlapping runs were a sight to behold in Serie A and for the Brazil countrywide crew. Lilian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta did related for France and Italy, respectively. Dani Alves and Philipp Lahm then emerged in the 2000s, players who were so technically gifted that they were at times deployed in midfield.
Alexander-Arnold is doing a thing we have not seen just before
Nevertheless, we have not seen a ideal-back again like Alexander-Arnold just before. The 21-year-previous is Liverpool’s principal playmaker. The likes of Alves, Cafu and Lahm fashioned goalscoring chances for their teammates, but none were their team’s chief source of creativeness.
Alexander-Arnold broke the Premier League assists record for a defender final expression, straight location up 12 ambitions for his Liverpool teammates. He has by now racked up eight assists in 18 appearances in 2019/20, which usually means he is properly on system to shatter final season’s tally. Only Kevin De Bruyne has registered a lot more given that the begin of the campaign.
Alexander-Arnold is definitely capable of overlapping Mohamed Salah on the ideal wing. In truth, his next assist towards Leicester arrived from an innovative place. But he does not interpret the ideal-back again position like Cafu or Zambrotta, frequently bombing down the flank and acquiring to the byline.
Lots of of the likelihood he results in occur from deeper positions. His shipping and delivery for Roberto Firmino’s 1st objective on Thursday is a case in place. He is a amazing passer, in a position to float balls over the best or drill them in driving. However, he does not tuck into midfield like Lahm at Bayern Munich or Kyle Walker at Manchester City. Alexander-Arnold is a distinctive form of ideal-back again.
Relocating Alexander-Arnold into Liverpool’s midfield would be a oversight
There have been tentative recommendations that Jurgen Klopp really should consider re-deploying Alexander-Arnold in the centre of the park, much like Pep Guardiola did with Lahm at Bayern. That would be an error.
Part of the motive for Alexander-Arnold’s results is the problems opponents experience in shackling him. It is much tougher to guy-mark a ideal-back again than an attacking midfielder. In addition, opponents would uncover it less complicated to nullify his large crossing skill were he deployed centrally.