If there was one player who exploded on the Liverpool scene last season it was Trent Alexander Arnold. At eighteen years of age, he could have the whole world at his feet, if he keeps up the level of performances he shown at Liverpool so far.
He played twelve times last season for Jürgen Klopp’s Reds in all competitions. In those appearances, he made on average two defensive actions and had an impressive shot accuracy of 100%, showing that he is not afraid to take a shot on goal. In addition, he created one chance and won on average 38% of his duels. At his young age, his low percentage rate of duels won is not something to be worried about. He has taken a no nonsense approach to clearing the ball at times instead of messing around in defence.
— lfcstuff (@Stufflfc_) July 27, 2017
With regular right-back Nathaniel Clyne receiving much criticism towards the end of last season for his inconsistencies, there were calls from a certain section of the Liverpool fan base for Alexander-Arnold to replace Clyne.
In fact, I was one of those calling for Clyne to be replaced. His failure to pass the ball forward at times and ability to get caught out of position time after time reminded me of Glen Johnson near the end of his Liverpool career. He preferred to pass the ball sideways or backwards when Liverpool were attacking, much to the frustration of Liverpool fans. These passes often hampered Liverpool while they were trying to launch an attack.
Alexander Arnold has recently signed a new five year contract at Liverpool, which will see him extend his time at Liverpool until he is twenty-three.
The youngster joined Liverpool as a six year old and many at the club have high hopes for the Scouser. I would like to see him start this season as Liverpool’s first choice right-back as I have little faith in Clyne. I can see sides attacking Liverpool on the right if Klopp sorts the left-back position this summer. With Clyne’s habit of doing an Alberto Moreno from time to time, this scares me.
There is also Alexander-Arnold’s versatility to consider. He has shown during the summer that he can play further forward as a right winger. While I do not expect him to replace Sadio Mané or new signing Mohamed Salah in Liverpool’s attack, this versatility could see him jump ahead of the likes of Sheyi Ojo or Ben Woodburn, especially in the domestic cup games.
Some of you may be wondering about Jon Flanagan but I believe his time at Liverpool is done. He was one of those players who showed a great deal of potential, but injuries sustained over the last few years have taken a massive toll on him; not only physically but mentally too. He wasn’t deemed good enough to play for an average Burnley team last season on loan and that speaks volumes about his ability.
"Clyne has got his work cut out."
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) July 25, 2017
Now that Alexander-Arnold has signed his new deal, I expect him to progress in the Liverpool first team like he has in the U-23’s and by the end of the 2017/2018, I fully expect to see him starting over Clyne as Liverpool’s first choice right-back.
If this does not happen, I would be in favour of him joining another Premier League club on loan to acquire some vital experience playing at the highest level. This type of experience will benefit him in the long run especially with Liverpool requiring all players leaving on loan to play a minimum of 75% of matches.
However, realistically, I cannot see Klopp sending Alexander-Arnold out on loan this season. With Liverpool hopefully challenging on four fronts this season, Klopp will need all hands on deck and this could prove to be where Alexander-Arnold will come in to his own.
Alexander-Arnold is the (young) player that needs to prove himself this season. I know he’s still young, but Clyne is aging too and Alexander-Arnold needs to show Klopp that he can take on the responsibility of right-back, and that he does not need to dip in to the transfer market to replace Clyne, if the latters performances continue to dip
The ball is now fully in Alexander-Arnold’s court. He has been at the club twelve years and knows it inside out. He understands what it means for fans that the club win trophies, and out of all the players in the current squad, he should be the one leading by example both on and off the pitch. After all, he is a Scouser and Liverpool Football Club means everything to him.
|Featured image by joshjdss|