Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Trent Alexander-Arnold’s move to midfield isn’t the great success many have made it out to be.
One of the best right-backs in the world, Alexander-Arnold has garnered much praise for his attacking output but has often received criticism for being a defensive liabilty.
This has been especially prevalent this season with Liverpool struggling in the Premier League table, and likely to miss out on Champions League qualification fro the first time since 2016.
But in their last four games, Jurgen Klopp has deployed the 24-year-old in a slightly different role, starting at full-back but drifting into midfield to aid his side’s creativity.
And it appears to have done the trick with Alexander-Arnold registering five assists in the games against Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Leeds and West Ham, compared to just three in his 37 other matches this season.
Many have been quick to praise both player and manager for this tactical switch, but in spite of the stats Barnes is not convinced it has made much of difference and has suggested the England international should return to his more traditional right-back role.
‘In my opinion, Trent’s number of assists will increase if he is playing as a right back because of his crosses,’ the former Reds star told BonusCodeBets.
‘A lot of his assists are coming from the right back position like [against] Arsenal, so it’s not that he is getting more assists because he is playing as a midfielder now.
‘He is very creative in terms of his crosses and passes but I don’t agree with the fact that he is creating more chances from a midfield position but because of his qualities on the ball, he will create chances no matter what position he is playing.
‘We need to talk about what an assist is. He passed the ball to [Cody] Gakpo [against West Ham] and he turned and did all the work to get a goal so sometimes an assist can be quite easy to get.
‘Trent played well but we have to ask ourselves the question if he is creating more chances from his position in the midfield? I don’t think he is. He is a good midfielder but he creates more chances with his crosses from the right back position.
‘I think Liverpool missed him at the right back position. They will benefit more from him playing there but in the midfield even though he did well.’
It remains to be seen how Klopp will utilise Alexander-Arnold in Liverpool’s next game at home against top four rivals Tottenham.
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