With Trent Alexander-Arnold ruled out of the Liverpool squad at the weekend — expected to be back after the international break — manager Jürgen Klopp is left with problems to solve in a key area for Liverpool’s tactics.
In his pre-Manchester City press conference, Klopp spoke candidly about his options:
We do a line-up and we have more options actually for the position, so we will see which one we choose.
We have obviously James [Milner], we have Joe [Gomez], we have Neco [Williams[, we could change system — there are quite a few things [we could do].
We have time to train this week, so there are a lot of things possible. But football is not the game anymore where you should have these one-on-one challenges for a long time. There are moments, seconds, but actually whoever plays there should be protected by at least two players in a right-back situation — that’s a centre-half and a midfielder, and a winger in an ideal world who is there around.
So, whoever plays there should not be afraid that he will be alone for a long time against really good football players, no doubt about that.
But I don’t know who will play for City in this moment, so it doesn’t make sense to think too much about it. We have to defend as a unit and if we do that, then it’s tricky for everybody. But there will be moments, of course, where individual quality will shine on both sides, and hopefully in the end it will be good enough for us.
Klopp’s comments make it seem as though the impact on the attack, rather than Alexander-Arnold’s absence in defense, are the main thing: because the team defends as a unit, no one playing in that role should expect to be isolated.
The young Scouser’s attacking prowess, however, is something that will be missed against a good City side. As Klopp has not ruled out changing the system in response to Alexander-Arnold’s absence, it’s hard to predict how, exactly, the side will compensate in his absence.