While Liverpool may have stopped their recent rot by defeating Manchester City at a raucous Anfield at the weekend, questions remain about their ability to challenge for the major honours this season.
To this end, the Reds are now priced at an average of 20/1 to win their second EPL title under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp, with the current GGpoker welcome codes potentially affording you access to superior returns over time.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has been key to Liverpool’s successes in recent years, but he’s also central to the clubs’ trials and tribulations this season. So, has the time come to adapt Trent’s role at Anfield? Let’s get into it!
How Liverpool’s Issues Have Altered Trent’s Role
In many ways, Alexander-Arnold is the epitome of the modern fullback, operating relatively high up the pitch and emerging as a uniquely creative force in the Liverpool side.
In previous seasons, Liverpool’s three-man midfield included energetic players like Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum in the widest positions, enabling them to cover for Trent and Andy Robertson as they marauded up the pitch.
This season, however, the Reds have undergone something of a tactical evolution. This has much to do with an aging and ever-changing midfield, along with the departure of Sadio Mane and the integration of Luis Diaz and new signing Darwin Nunez in attack.
When it comes to the former, the advancing ages of Henderson and James Milner have precipitated a significant sea change in midfield, which is now populated by more technical players like Thiago, Fabinho and Harvey Elliott.
This has left considerably less cover for Alexander-Arnold and Robertson during transitions, while Diaz and Nunez are more rigid in their positioning and a little less effective in the forward press.
Similarly, Diaz often adopts a much wider starting position that Mane, while Mohamed Salah has followed suit this season and forced Trent to naturally adopt a more central (albeit typically advanced) role a times.
Building From a More Rigid 4-4-2 Shape
Ahead of the recent UCL home game against Rangers, however, Klopp adopted a more rigid 4-2-3-1 shape, which became a classic 4-4-2 when out of position and featured two holding midfielders alongside four attackers.
Because of this, Trent was asked to play a more traditional right back role, playing noticeably deeper and maintaining a position much closer to his defensive teammates. In this respect, he played an important support role and was often the spare man in possession, although his ability to create chances was impaired considerably.
This hints at a change of role for the talented fullback, especially as Klopp looks to stabilise his side in the short-term. But is it the right change in role, and does it suit Trent’s attacking attributes?
While Trent can defend superbly one-on-one and is much better positionally when he’s asked to play primarily as a defensive fullback, it’s hard to ignore his attacking output through the years.
For example, he has made 171 EPL appearances since his debut in 2016, scoring 11 goals and providing an impressive 45 assists. This equates to one goal involvement every three games or so on average, which is quite incredible for an ostensibly defensive player.
In terms of big chances created, Alexander-Arnold has 66 to his name in the EPL since his debut.
To provide context, this is the 12th highest such value since such statistics started to be collated at the beginning of the 2010/11 season, with Trent registering more big chances than Wayne Rooney, former teammate Mane and even Arsenal’s assist king himself Mesut Ozil during his relatively short career.
TAA also averages 59.91 passes per match across his EPL career, highlighting his innate ability to dictate play and showcase an enviable range of passing.
The Last Word
Ultimately, these statistics suggest that Trent would be better deployed permanently in a more advanced role, perhaps as the right-sided midfielder in a central three.
Here, he would have a license to get on the ball and dictate play centrally, while also being allowed to break freely into the final third without leaving the defence overly exposed in wide areas.
It seems inevitable that he’ll evolve into such a role in the future, although now arguably the ideal time to encourage Alexander-Arnold to make such a leap as Liverpool undergo a transitional phase.
For now, however, it appears as though Klopp will focus on playing Trent in a more orthodox full back role, as he looks to get back to basics and make his side considerably harder to play against.