It’s no secret that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders have been working on getting the fullbacks more involved with the attack. Indeed, for Lijnders the perfect goal is a fullback assisting the other fullback, such as the one where Trent Alexander-Arnold set up Andy Robertson’s goal in the Champions League against Salzburg.
Any attacking move involves some degree of risk, and that is especially true for fullbacks, who are nominally defenders first. The solution to that conundrum is to use the midfielders to cover the space left when Robbo and/or Trent make a run into the final third.
“It’s good to be able to help the team with creating chances and wanting to give good service to the attackers to go and score goals,” Trent Alexander-Arnold explained in a TV interview with Premier League Productions.
“Eventually how you win games is scoring goals. I think as full-backs, me and Robbo, we want to do that as much as possible and the manager gives us that freedom to do that and doesn’t limit us and tells us we have to stay back. He gives us that freedom of being able to go forward.
“The midfield help us out a lot by covering us and allowing us to get forward. It’s a team effort and the lads are in the box all the time to be able to put the chances away.”
This isn’t exactly breaking new ground, or giving away the recipe for our secret sauce. If you watch this Liverpool side for more than a few minutes, you quickly realize just how important the fullbacks are to the attack. The fact that they two combined for an eye-watering 23 assists last season—with both players having double-digit assists—speaks to this fack.
So far, Trent is just ahead of Robbo in terms of raw goal contributions, with three assists to two, with each player tallying a goal. Not a bad start for the two fullbacks.
Of course, these offensively-minded fullbacks only have the license to get forward because of the impressive workrate of the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Some may point to the lack of goal production from the midfield, but that is by design in this set up.