Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, experimented with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s role during their recent match against Arsenal, shifting him from his usual wide position to play as an inverted full-back. Klopp aimed to provide Liverpool with a ‘double six’ during possession, similar to Pep Guardiola’s strategy with Manchester City.
Alexander-Arnold is well-known for his ball-handling skills, and during the Arsenal match, he frequently moved into the center of midfield. Klopp stated that this new positioning offered Liverpool “different opportunities” throughout the game, which ultimately ended in a 2-2 draw due to Roberto Firmino’s late equalizer. If not for Mohamed Salah’s penalty miss and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale’s exceptional saves, Liverpool could have taken more from the game.
Klopp acknowledged that this wasn’t the first time Alexander-Arnold played in this position, but it was more noticeable against Arsenal. He also admitted that it was a significant step to make such a change against a strong team like Arsenal and that the team needed time to adapt to the tactic.
Liverpool managed a comeback after being down 2-0, with goalkeeper Alisson emphasizing the importance of replicating their second-half performance in future games. He credited the first goal for sparking the turnaround and praised the Anfield crowd for their unwavering support.
Despite the tactical switch yielding mixed results, critics like Gary Neville and Roy Keane questioned Alexander-Arnold’s defensive capabilities, particularly in one-on-one situations. They argued that the full-back has not improved defensively over the years and that playing him in midfield does not solve his issues.
However, it is unclear whether Klopp will continue to use Alexander-Arnold in this new role or if the match against Arsenal was a one-time experiment. Regardless, it appears that further training and adjustments will be necessary for the team to adapt to this tactical change effectively.