During and after the game against Manchester City, Liverpool FC vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold endured some criticism about his matchup with Jeremy Doku, with the Belgian winger registering a whopping seven dribbles against Trent at right-back.
It seemed by design as Trent often diverted the attacker to the byline or handed him off into the path of Joël Matip’s gangly legs, but that didn’t register with the online casuals.
When asked about Trent’s performance after the game, captain Virgil van Dijk leapt to his deputy’s defence:
“I think everyone this season, as a defender, one v one against Doku will have a tough afternoon. He’s a very good dribbler. But I don’t think he had a tough afternoon on the whole.”
“It’s how you defend them together and try to get two v one in situations and, in the end, I’m pleased for him that he got the equaliser.”
“He offers a lot defensively and, obviously in possession, he has qualities that are very special and he shows that as well, so he has the complete package. He has to keep doing what he’s doing, keep improving, keep that high standard he has for himself and we all have for him as well.”
When asked to chime in on the great Trent Position Debate™, the captain was diplomatic in his answer:
“I don’t know, that’s for the coaches that work with him.”
“I think for the moment he’s playing just fine where he is right now. He has that freedom to mix it up and he has to do that because you see teams are working it out at times, so he has to be able to switch from staying on the outside and going on the inside as well.
“I think it’s a good learning curve for him as well and (on Saturday) he did that well because obviously he was playing against one of the most in-form wingers at the moment.”
Obviously, Trent’s a special player. The collective understands that, and it’s clear through their effort to help him show off what he can bring to the team that they’re with him, instead of constantly harping on his perceived weaknesses like the pundits and keyboard warriors out there.