'It won’t work against Man City' – Trent Alexander-Arnold’s new role at Liverpool may not be so perfect as Glen Johnson assesses inverted full-back trend

Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool 2023-24
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Liverpool have embraced the inverted full-back trend with Trent Alexander-Arnold, but Glen Johnson suggests that may not be the best role for him.
  • Reds getting creative with tactics
  • England defender pushed up the field
  • Big summer transfer window ahead

WHAT HAPPENED? With Pep Guardiola having taken to pushing defenders up into midfield berths at Manchester City – with the likes of John Stones and Rico Lewis thriving in that system – Jurgen Klopp has taken inspiration from his Premier League rivals. Alexander-Arnold, who has seen a move up the field speculated on for some time, has been putting his creative qualities to good use when stepping out of his regular right-back spot.

WHAT THEY SAID: Alexander-Arnold’s performances have earned plenty of praise, especially considering the plethora of questions previously asked regarding his defensive skill set. But former Liverpool full-back Johnson – speaking in association with Lord Ping – has told GOAL when asked if the perfect position has been found for the England international: “No, I don’t actually think so. When people play really well in their position, people want to move them. It’s like, no, they are good in their position so let them do what they do. Obviously he is a fantastic footballer who has got an eye for a pass and is technically unbelievable. I think the new role can suit them against weaker teams. I don’t think that will work against City, United. Against a weaker side I think it’s a great string to the bow, but against the big teams I don’t think it will work.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Liverpool will be freshening up their ranks again this summer, with midfield one area that needs to be addressed, while the Reds are bidding farewell to Roberto Firmino. Pressed on who can step up to fill the void created by the legendary Brazilian’s departure, Johnson said: “I think they are fine. [Darwin] Nunez has been great. [Luis] Diaz, once he’s fit, is sensational. I don’t think they need to worry. If they get Diaz fit, he’s probably their best player in terms of that direct creativity side. Hopefully he is over this injury. Being fit is one thing, but being back to your best is something else. Hopefully he can hit those heights again and if he can, then they are absolutely fine going forward.”

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Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool 2022-23

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2022-23

Luis Diaz Liverpool 2023

WHAT NEXT? Liverpool are set to miss out on a top-four finish and Champions League qualification this season, having struggled to recover from the slow start that they made to the 2022-23 campaign. Klopp’s men will head into an important summer transfer window on the back of a final day trip to Southampton on Sunday.