Trent Alexander-Arnold is facing the kind of criticism that has been aimed at Mohamed Salah in the past, says Jason McAteer, with the former Liverpool claiming that while the 22-year-old’s brain “looks fried” he remains “England’s best right-back”.
Sohigh have the standards been that he has set in his career to date that any dip is going to be dissected in minute detail.
Questions are being asked of Alexander-Arnold’s contribution to the Liverpool cause for the first time, with it suggested that he may need a break in order to recharge his batteries and come again.
McAteer concedes that the highly-rated defender looks a little lost at present, but he is not about to start doubting the overall ability of a man who has starred for a dominant Reds side over recent years.
“Despite Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling a bit this season, he’sstill England’s best right-back,” ex-Liverpool midfielder McAteer told FreeSuperTips.
“However, there isn’t such a thing anymore as the‘perfect right-back’ nowadays. Yearsago,your right-back was a defensive player who was there to protect the back four, he was there to help the winger and every so often he’d get forward.However, the modern right-back is practically a winger.
“Trent’s best qualitiesare when hegoesforward. His crossingandfitnessare sublime, but defensively thatthere arequestion marksover him.
“Asa manager, you need to decideif you want this defensive playerin your side orsomeone who is more attacking, which is what Klopp wants and that’s whyTrent isa perfect fit.For Gareth Southgate, it depends on what hewants for each game and who fits the position best against each opposition.
“There have been games this season where he has lacked quality,which is surprising given how high he has set his own barfor performances.But when you’re in the media spotlight playing for Liverpool and you don’t reach the level of performance that you did previously, you are going to get scrutinised.
“It’s similar with Mohamed Salah inhis firstseasonwherehe scoredso many goals, when he didn’t match that the next season, people said he was finished, when in hindsight, his stats aresimplyphenomenal.
“WhatLiverpoolhave done under Klopp in the last few seasons is brilliant,and there was bound to be a drop off point somewhere.
“When a player is slightly older and more into their career, you can handle it better, but with Trent, he’s young, he’s playedfootball at the highest levelandplaying every week. It’s a lot of mental pressure for a young player to deal with.He looks worn out mentally and physically,and his brain looks fried.
“Despite this, you still have to play him in the game against Manchester United.It’s the biggest game of the season in the Premier League so players don’t feel tired in the build up to it. If Klopp wants to rest him for a fewgames, you do it after the United game.”
Source : goal.com