Jurgen Klopp: I will always pick 'exceptional' Trent Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool despite England omission – Sky Sports

  • October 1, 2022

Trent Alexander-Arnold was omitted from the England squad that drew 3-3 with Germany on Monday; Liverpool manager Jurge Klopp has backed the young defender; the Reds host Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon
Friday 30 September 2022 22:51, UK
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Trent Alexander-Arnold returned to Anfield “not in a party mood’ after being left out of the England squad that faced Germany in the Uefa Nations League on Monday, but the Liverpool right-back still has the support of his manager Jurgen Klopp.
Despite being on the substitutes’ bench for England’s 1-0 loss to Italy at San Siro last Friday night, Alexander-Arnold was then omitted from Gareth Southgate’s matchday squad for the final Nations League fixture with Germany three days later.
That Wembley clash ended 3-3 as win-less England suffered relegation after finishing bottom of Group A3, however, it was Alexander-Arnold’s omission in favour of Chelsea’s Reece James and Newcastle United’s Kieran Trippier that dominated the headlines the next day.
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Klopp, though, was tight-lipped on the matter and refused to criticise Southgate, saying only he would pick the player in his line-up, starting at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
“Do we really want to open this box? You are English journalists and we cannot discuss selections until the World Cup starts,” said Klopp in his press conference on Friday.
“This is why you make massive things of this.
“My honest opinion would create headlines. You want that? It would maybe help Germany but it wouldn’t help England.
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“I have a lot of things to say, but I don’t think it makes sense.”
Southgate suggested he went with Trippier because his “all-round game is ahead” of Alexander-Arnold’s.
And while acknowledging the England manager had a tricky call to make over this area of the team, Klopp did say he disagreed and would always select the 23-year-old as his right-back.
“We are fine here, it’s completely different. I see Trent differently, that’s clear,” said the German.
“People talk about him not being a good defender, that’s not true, he is a good defender, he doesn’t always defend good, that’s true.
“He’s 23. We’re working on it.
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“Whatever team I would have at the moment, I would pick Trent. He is exceptional.
“England are blessed with players in this position. Reece James can play three at the back, did that well for Chelsea.
“It’s Gareth’s decision. He made it. I see it differently. Doesn’t mean it’s right or wrong.
“Trent came back not in a party mood, but he accepts the manager’s decision because he is extremely bright.
“The manager decides and more often than not here it is the case he is picked. It’s clear, he’s a world-class player.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp the misunderstanding around Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive weaknesses:

“We do high press and Trent is often the highest of all those at the back. That is the way we play football. You can say ‘you should defend better’ but you cannot have everything because if you want to play high press you need players in specific positions.

“It is not a crazy risk and we win the ball nine out of 10 times but in the one moment we don’t win it, people ask ‘where is Trent?’ That is a question that I don’t understand from people who watch football so often.

“Yes, there are other situations where he was not aware (enough) or there was a challenge he should have won but every player in the league has these challenges. But with him? Every time it is picked up and analysed, all the experts saying this is a weakness. Honestly, I just don’t get that part of it.

“A world-class talent gets judged by the one thing he is not as world class at as the other things. If he was not a good defender, he would not play. Defensively it is not possible that one guy defends the whole pitch. You need everybody involved and we were not good at that (this season).

“Trent did not do well in these moments as well (but) in other moments he defends exceptionally well but for him – in his situation – nobody mentions it.”
Klopp is not naive enough to think there are not areas of the right-back’s game which cannot be improved, but he is willing to accept the pay-off for utilising his unique talents.
He added: “I am not dumb. I would talk to him all day about it and work all day to be the best but if you judge a player you think about his overall package,” the German added ahead of the visit of Brighton.
“The skill set he has for being influential in possession is mad for a right-back. I don’t know if I ever saw a right-back like this – passing here, passing there, switching sides, taking free-kicks, corners, smart decisions, quick decisions.
“He is an outstanding football player in a situation where three other right-backs in this country are doing really well. We should not forget that.
“So the view on that is how influential can Trent be? That is number one. What is he good at? That is how you judge a player.”
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