Trent Alexander-Arnold is currently sidelined with an ankle injury sustained in the weekend loss to Arsenal.
However, prior to then, the defender had come under regular criticism so far this season, in part for what has been a marked dip in his attacking output, but primarily due to a series of poor defensive performances.
While the entire squad has been woeful defensively, the 24-year-old has been a focus of criticism in the press and on social media for high-profile lapses at the back, with commentary centering around what appears to be a lack of focus on the defensive side of his game.
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp has consistently defended his young star, with the thinking that the squad is better when Alexander-Arnold is allowed to demonstrate his generational ability on the ball.
The right back himself spoke recently to GQ Magazine (via the All Football App) about how he is seeking to redefine the right back position:
“I never like to play the position, I play the game,” Alexander-Arnold said. “You play the position, it limits you. It’s like playing with shackles on.
“I’ve always thought that with a sensible mind, play the game, get in positions that will hurt the opposition, and at the same time do the defensive work you need to do.
“It’s more: Play the game how it needs to be played.”
Look, we’re not going to bury our heads in the sands as Liverpool supporters and pretend Alexander-Arnold has performed anywhere close to his ludicrously high standards so far this season.
However, we also cannot argue that he has played any worse defensively this season than in years past, and that the main difference has been a toothless counterpress that has left the entire back line exposed nearly every game.
The hope is that the youngster can use his recovery time now to recalibrate and come back stronger, as Klopp seeks to rebalance the ship for the rest of the campaign.