One of the biggest talking points after Liverpool’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Arsenal last week was the positioning of right back Trent Alexander-Arnold. The young fullback has pinched inside at times for Liverpool, but primarily in and around the opposition’s box. Against Arsenal, Alexander-Arnold was seen playing in more of a double-pivot holding role with Fabinho.
Former Liverpool fullback Fabio Aurelio spoke about the tactical tweak in a column for LiverpoolFC.com. Aurelio felt the change in positioning was key to Liverpool’s success in the second half.
I found it fascinating to see the positions Trent Alexander-Arnold took up in Sunday’s draw with Arsenal. Jürgen Klopp said Alexander-Arnold was part of a ‘double No.6’ in build-up play, like an inverted full-back when in possession. He certainly helped change the direction of the game as a result.
Aurelio, who was primarily a fullback but also spent time as a winger and a holding midfielder, went on to talk about the challenges of moving from defender to midfielder.
I have to say, I enjoyed my time as a defensive midfielder as it helped me grow as a player. You had to manage different situations on the pitch that you’re just not used to. You have to learn a lot of new things as well because you have more pressure from opponents from everywhere on the pitch. You can struggle receiving the ball on your back, for example, because it’s something totally different, so that’s not easy.
Though when you’ve got the ball, you have more passing opportunities and chances to hurt the opponent. So Trent’s able to demonstrate his incredible range of passing even more in that role. As simple as it sounds, it’s sometimes just nice to be doing something different on the pitch. That’s why I quite enjoyed playing in different roles. When you play other roles, you feel a bit more ‘free’.
For Aurelio, he feels that Alexander-Arnold is one of the best players no matter where he is on the pitch, and is excited how the new wrinkle can open up different parts of Trent’s game. Fabio is interested to see if the experiment will continue as part of the regular tactics for Liverpool.
Trent is a special player and still so young. I feel he’d have an impact on a game in whatever position he plays. I love watching him. Against Arsenal, Klopp was adapting the quality of his players to the circumstances of the game and maybe catch Arsenal off guard. It worked after a difficult start in the game.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether we see more of him in that hybrid role going forward.