Jurgen Klopp has leapt to the defence of Trent Alexander-Arnold and explained why the Liverpool right-back’s form has dipped.
Alexander-Arnold was one of the country’s top performers last season but has struggled to hit those heights in the 2020/21 campaign.
There have even been calls for the England international to be dropped after his error allowed Danny Ings to score the winner in a 1-0 win for Southampton on Monday night.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James said: ‘Trent didn’t offer anything today. The crossing opportunities weren’t good enough.
‘Obviously the defending… we’re talking about one game and everyone is entitled to a bad game but… Trent’s performance’s of late when you collect them together haven’t been great.
‘So therefore Jurgen, do you drop him or rest him? The word drop sounds almost somehow final. I think it’s giving someone a breather. I think he needs a rest definitely.’
Klopp, however, isn’t concerned by the 22-year-old’s form and suggested that a combination of him having coronavirus, suffering an injury and not having a full pre-season has taken its toll on the full-back.
‘That’s normal if you play football in public and have people used to the level Trent showed over the last three or four years, since he started playing with us pretty much, then that’s normal,’ Klopp said ahead of their trip to Aston Villa – a match that has come under threat after an outbreak of coronavirus at Villa Park.
‘In a game like this it was an obvious case of not his best game, he knows this. We know that and that’s clear.
‘The reason is, he was out for a while with early Covid and had an injury that didn’t help. He had no pre-season really and after with the quality he has and the situation we were in he played pretty early.
‘I think he is now getting there just physically he is fine now he just has to find his top shape again and that will happen rather soon than later.’