In a dismal season so far for Liverpool, the right-back position is in the spotlight as Trent Alexander Arnold has come under severe scrutiny.
Liverpool have had an underwhelming start to the season as their below-par performances have received much criticism. Moreover, much of Liverpool’s poor performances have been blamed on its defensive performances and one player, in particular, has been singled out is Trent Alexander Arnold.
The right-back who was once compared to Barcelona’s great Dani Alves has looked like a shadow of the player who doesn’t know how to defend. Trent’s defensive weakness has been extensively exploited in this season’s campaign.
Furthermore, his weak defensive frailties aren’t helping him with his ticket to Qatar. The right-back’s chances of making it to England’s World Cup seem very thin.
It’s a tough situation for both Liverpool and Trent, as Liverpool are now measuring for solutions to the battle defensive crisis.
Who is best for the right-back position at Liverpool?
In a crisis, the team needs a right-back who smells danger and can defend and recover. Alexander Arnold over the last four or five years has been a great player going forward, however, his defensive part of the game isn’t good at all. As a right-back player, he needs to be aware of getting into the positions and be better at 1v1 situations.
In the game against Napoli, Liverpool reached a new low as the Reds were hammered by the Italian side. Moreover, Trent’s performance at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona left fans seriously concerned. Furthermore, footage of his body language showing little or no intention to recover as he left Joe Gomez exposed.
In the game against Man City at Anfield, Liverpool earned a crucial win and surprisingly kept a clean sheet as much credit was given to the team’s defense. Interestingly, veteran James Milner played at the right-back position, played exceptionally well as he is someone, who wants to defend and knows how to defend. The 36-year-old totally shut down talented opponent Phil Foden, which pretty sure wouldn’t have been the case if Trent would have played.
Furthermore, with a late 10-minute cameo in Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over West Ham, Milner made an intervention that was just as vital to the three points as Darwin Nunez’s goal and Alisson’s penalty save.
Meanwhile, defender Joe Gomez has been tried and tested in the right-back position. However, he is most suited in the central defensive duties. Recently, Gomez has had the privilege to partner with Virgil at the heart of the defense in recent games.
The 25-year-old performed extremely well, which reminded people of the League-winning season, where both Gomez and Van Dijk partnered and formed a deadly defensive duo. Similarly, his recent performances have earned him praise as many consider him a contender for the World Cup squad.
is it Trent, Gomez, or Milner?
Both Gomez and Milner are not long-term options going forward, as one is a central defender, the other a versatile player but into the latter stage of his career.
Alexander-Arnold, 24 has established himself as one of the best right-backs in the world since his debut in 2016. However, the offensive-minded full-back has ignored his defensive instabilities with the ability to make perfect crosses and an eye for passes. But at some stage defending has to come first when opponents come equally matched.
Liverpool are a better side currently when their right-back Trent isn’t playing but that doesn’t make him a bad player. The full-back isn’t a natural defender and he needs to work and think about it. As of now, he should work on his fundamentals and basics and make sure he gets his form and mojo back.