By Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s continual development has meant he has had to adapt how the team plays to make the most of the defender’s skillset.
The right-back scored his second goal of the season in the 3-1 victory over Newcastle to add to the seven Premier League assists he has.
He has already matched his assist mark from 36 matches last season and is well on course to beat his best effort of 13 in the 2019-20 title-winning campaign.
It has been noticeable this season the England international has often moved inside to become an auxiliary midfielder rather than hugging the touchline and it has added another dimension to his – and Liverpool’s – game.
“It’s just the next step in his whole development. We adapt our game to his skills, he puts in his skills in our different plans,” said Klopp.
“He obviously plays different positions on the pitch more than in the beginning because he’s just a much more mature player.
“Of course he is still in the right-back position to defend especially, then he’s a right winger, then he’s an eight, a six, a playmaker.
70% of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s #PL goals for Liverpool have come from outside the box (7/10) 💫
Of all players to score at least 10 for the Reds in the competition, only Xabi Alonso netted a higher share from distance (79%)#LIVNEW pic.twitter.com/W4L5RHRVyX
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 17, 2021
“He’s a lot of different things for us and enjoys it but it’s tough, he’s still young and it’s an intense period.
“It was not his best game last night – it was one of his best goals, yes – but that’s completely normal.
“Even on a night when not everything is clicking you can be the decisive man and that’s what he was last night.”
Alexander-Arnold is also halfway to matching his best goalscoring campaign, also 2019-20, but Klopp insists improving his ability in front of goal – Chelsea counterpart Reece James has four to his name already – is not really the priority.
The Liverpool boss believes the 23-year-old is better served developing his all-round game rather than trying to repeat his 25-yard thunderbolt against Newcastle.
“It’s part of the game and part of things he wants to improve but I don’t think he gets up in the morning and thinks, ‘How can I score the next goal?’” he added ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham.
“It is to improve his game and there is enough space and enough time for him to improve his game in so many parts: reading situations better, dealing with situations better, so many parts of the game he can improve and he is already a world-class player.
“I didn’t ask him but probably when he grew up and he watched Liverpool games he saw Steven Gerrard quite frequently scoring goals like this and knowing you have a very good shooting technique yourself you want to score these kind of goals.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 17, 2021
“It’s not the case that he is 20 times a game in the position in the half-left half-space where he scored the goal from yesterday.
“But scoring from there is obviously something he might have to wait another five years for because it’s just not his position.”