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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Tom Cavilla

Every word of Jamie Carragher's passionate critique of Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool must purchase a right-back this summer to compete with Trent Alexander-Arnold after questioning whether the player's defensive discipline will improve with time.

Alexander-Arnold has come under significant criticism this season for below-par performances, often being caught out of position and accused of lacking the correct attitude on the pitch when attempting to thwart the opposition.

Conversations over whether or not the 24-year-old would be more suited to a midfield position due to his unrivalled creative ability has been have previously come to the fore, with England manager Gareth Southgate among those to float the idea.

READ MORE: Liverpool fans can't understand Jurgen Klopp decision during Real Madrid defeat

READ MORE: Why Real Madrid played You'll Never Walk Alone after beating Liverpool in CL

Jurgen Klopp has continued to defend his player, suggesting it was nonsense to entertain the notion of shifting Alexander-Arnold further forward. Carragher, though, is of the view Wednesday's defeat by Real Madrid has left Liverpool with no other choice than to take a new approach.

"That can’t continue, what’s happened this season with him and the number of times he has been lacking defensively," the Reds legend told CBS after the full-time whistle in the Spanish capital.

Carragher continued: "The problem they have got in that position is that they’ve never had real competition for Trent Alexander-Arnold and one of the reasons why is because he has been so good and you think ‘Who do you buy and how much do you spend for someone who is not really going to play every week?’

"Liverpool are at the point where they have got to go and buy a right-back. It’s Jurgen Klopp decision in terms of how good that right-back is and how much he costs, but that lad needs serious competition. He has been playing for five years at the top level, with no rest, and has won absolutely everything and won more than I could ever dream of. I’m so proud of him - a local lad coming through the ranks - but he needs help."

That Klopp's side find themselves battling for top four this campaign as opposed to challenging on all fronts, Carragher believes, has played a major role in Alexander-Arnold being more exposed than in previous years due to teams finding ways to ask questions of an ageing backline.

Not confident the situation is likely to improve, the 45-year-old has stated a back-up for the West Derby-born defender should be a priority in order to place pressure on his starting place within the team.

"He needs to have a long think at the end of the season about where he is as a right-back, and I’ve always defended him because he’s played in one of the best teams in the world. When you play for one of the best teams in the world, which Liverpool are, you do a lot more attacking than you do defending. We all know his defending is not good enough and I don’t think it ever will be good enough," said Carragher.

"We’re talking about a player who has played 260 games, it’s not going to massively improve now. When Liverpool drop off and aren’t one of the best teams in Europe, like they have been, now they are one of the pack going for the Champions League. You’re then doing more defending, less attacking and you’re seeing the worst traits of Trent and not his strengths going forward. That is a massive problem. I thought this problem would rear its head when Klopp left and maybe Liverpool drop back to trying to qualify for top four. If Liverpool are trying to qualify for the Champions League on a yearly basis, I’m not sure Trent is your man at right-back. If Liverpool get back to being one of the best teams in Europe, he is your man. But, right now, the lad needs help.

"I do question and think about what are the messages he is getting on a daily basis in terms of his defending. Is it actually highlighted? Do they actually want more from him? Because the lack of intensity when he goes to press and close down is just not there. It’s a million miles away. It has really been shown up this season and I feel it will continue to be shown up until he is given help off the pitch or by bringing a right-back in."


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