Jurgen Klopp does not want to continue the debate surrounding Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England hopes after the right-back again wrote himself into the headlines, this time in front of Gareth Southgate.
Alexander-Arnold was controversially left out of the latest Three Lions squad by Southgate last month, the team’s final gathering before a group for Euro 2020 is named.
Liverpool manager Klopp defended his player and said Alexander-Arnold’s form – widely questioned this season – “cannot be the reason” for his omission.
The 22-year-old has since turned in an influential display at Arsenal, assisting the first goal in a 3-0 win, before his error let Marco Asensio in for one of three Real Madrid goals in the Champions League in midweek.
Back in Premier League action on Saturday, Alexander-Arnold was a talking point again for the right reasons.
His superb 91st-minute strike clinched a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, Liverpool’s first Anfield success of 2021.
The academy graduate wrote on Twitter: “Are you not entertained!?”
Alexander-Arnold had a game-high 102 touches and no Reds player created more chances than his three. Crucially, he also made a joint-high three tackles.
A balance between attack and defence has been identified as key, and this was the first time all season Alexander-Arnold had three key passes and three tackles in the same league match.
Klopp was again asked about his star performer post-match but hopes the topic of conversation can finally now change.
“He wants to be in the [England] squad – that is clear – so we don’t have to talk too much about it,” Klopp said. “He is a wonderful player.
“I think Gareth agrees that he is a really wonderful player, then there is a manager who has to make a decision.
“I respect that, I really respect that. Trent respects that, I respect that.
“To be in the England squad, you have to play outstanding football. Trent did this very, very often at a very young age. So there’s nothing to talk about.
“There will be tough decisions, not only at that position, too, for Gareth. I have to make tough decisions every day – that’s normal in the job.
“But we don’t have to talk about it; just leave the boy playing football, which he’s pretty good at, and don’t talk any more about it.”
Although Alexander-Arnold lost possession 35 times and was dribbled past twice, there were no errors leading to shots to add to the two against Madrid – one of which Asensio punished.
Prior to the trip to Spain, Alexander-Arnold had only made one such error all season across all competitions.
“Life is like this, football is like this,” Klopp said, hailing the defender’s character.
“He played an exceptional game against Arsenal, a top game today, and in Real Madrid, we don’t have to hide that, he was involved in the second goal they scored. That’s how it is.
“I don’t think Trent is in a situation where he has to prove himself constantly at this level; he has to play good football.
“As a young player, you have to develop, and you only do that if you challenge yourself in specific moments.
“If he’s not playing well, it’s not that he’s not bothered or doesn’t care, it’s the opposite.”