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In Focus: Alexander-Arnold could be ready for permanent midfield move
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Dan Fitch
Trent Alexander-Arnold has flourished in a fresh position
Trent Alexander-Arnold has flourished in a fresh position

Trent Alexander-Arnold's troubled season may have been saved by a positional switch. 

In a campaign in which Liverpool have struggled as a whole, the England right-back has looked like a defensive liability at times. 

Yet in recent games, the 24-year-old has been shifted into an inverted full-back role, which has seen him far more involved in the middle of the pitch.

Ahead of Liverpool's Premier League clash with Tottenham on Sunday, we look at Alexander-Arnold's transformation.

Flaws exposed

It has been a difficult season for Alexander-Arnold. With Liverpool's midfield no longer offering the protection it once did and Virgil van Dijk declining, the right-back has been left exposed.

Never the best defender, his flaws as a full-back were previously covered by others, allowing him to fly down the flanks and do what he does best. 

One of the elite passers of the Premier League, the boyhood Red has been an assist machine for Jurgen Klopp's side. 

Last season he provided 19 goals for his colleagues. This season, the attacking returns had dried up. 

Confidence may have played a part. It would be natural for any full-back to become a little more cautious when they are consistently making mistakes. 

Then there is simply the fact that the Reds' performances have collectively dipped and they are scoring less goals. 

Yet in recent games, Klopp’s decision to move his No66 into a different role, has reaped the rewards for both the player and his team. 

Trent Alexander-Arnold has provided five assists in his last four games
Trent Alexander-Arnold has provided five assists in his last four games

New position

When Liverpool are in possession, Alexander-Arnold now moves into a central midfield role. 

Prior to this shift, he had provided two league assists all season. In the four games since the change, he has created five goals, with the team unbeaten during this run. 

Other clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester City have made similar tactical moves, but Alexander-Arnold's talent is such that he can bring an extra attacking dimension to the role. 

Liverpool have scored 13 goals in their last four games, but it is also worth considering that they have conceded six, failing to keep a single clean sheet. 

The tactical change means that the right-sided centre-back has to cover the space on the flank, while Andy Robertson finds himself in a left-sided central defensive position, curtailing his own attacking game. 

With a rebuild likely on the horizon at Anfield this summer, it remains to be seen if this new role is a long-term plan or if Alexander-Arnold's future lies somewhere else. 

Midfield option

Trent Alexander-Arnold has five assists from his last four games
Trent Alexander-Arnold has five assists from his last four games

It would seem that Liverpool will be looking to revamp their midfield next season, while a central defender could be another priority. 

With fresh recruits, it’s possible that Alexander-Arnold will be better protected at right-back, whether that is in his new inverted role or the pure attacking full-back position.

There is a third option, which is perhaps the most fascinating of all. With the 24-year-old showing how dangerous he can be in central positions, perhaps he could emerge as a midfielder. 

Free from the shackles of defensive responsibility, Liverpool might just have a player who could provide the sort of influence that Manchester City derive from Kevin De Bruyne. 

How he performs in the new system until the end of the season, will no doubt have an impact on Klopp's thinking. 

The match against Spurs, which will see the Reds ace pitted against in-form Heung Min-Son, will be a fine test of how the team copes defensively.


LiverpoolTrent Alexander-ArnoldPremier League
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