Soccer

Jurgen Klopp aims thinly veiled dig at Gareth Southgate over Trent Alexander-Arnold

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has seemingly clashed with England head coach Gareth Southgate over Trent Alexander-Arnold’s ability to play in midfield. Klopp has aimed a subtle swipe at the 51-year-old over his use of the ace.  

Alexander-Arnold came through most of the Liverpool youth system playing in central midfield but was moved to right-back later in his development.  

It is in the latter position where the 22-year-old has broken into the Liverpool team, with Klopp insisting that he is the best right-back in the world.  

Alexander-Arnold is highly regarded for his crossing and passing ability. He has registered 45 assists since his debut just five years ago.  

It has prompted suggestions that he could transition into a midfield role.  

England boss Southgate has used Alexander-Arnold in midfield on a couple of occasions, including during the 4-0 win over Andorra last Sunday. 

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The 14-times Three Lions international looked uncomfortable in the first half and at half-time was switched with Reece James.  

Klopp is firm in his belief that the player’s best position is at right-back, and hit out at those who think it is instead in midfield.  

“Some people think he could be more influential in midfield. How is it possible to be more influential than Trent Alexander-Arnold? We use him as good as we can,” Klopp told reporters on Friday. 

“But why would you make the best right-back in the world a midfielder? I struggle to understand how you can think that?

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“If you watch our games, Trent’s position already changed when possible. There is no need to make him a midfielder now.  

“It’s a shame we talk about this in 2021, good players play everywhere. Trent plays right-wing, everywhere. He can play midfield. More a 6 than 8.”

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Former England star Gary Lineker last month argued that Alexander-Arnold should play in midfield.  

The Match of the Day presenter pointed out that Germany icons Philipp Lahm and Joshua Kimmich have both made the switch.  

“Said it many times, but the best passer in English football is @TrentAA. He should be playing, like he did as a kid, in midfield,” Lineker tweeted last month.  

“[Philipp] Lahm switched, [Joshua] Kimmich too. The best players should be in a position where they can more frequently use their brilliance.”

But Reds icon Jamie Carragher hit back, agreeing with Klopp. 

The former defender argued that players are presented with more time on the ball at full-back and Alexander-Arnold’s skills are better used in the position.  

“No he shouldn’t, full backs get more of the ball than anyone and a bit more time on it to pick out their passes,” the 43-year-old argued. 

“The way Klopp sets up he’s virtually a midfielder in possession anyway. The amount of assists he gets means it would be mad to change his position.”
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