Pep Guardiola impressed by Klopp’s new Liverpool tactic

Liverpool have reaped the fruits of utilising Trent Alexander-Arnold in his new role.

Jurgen Klopp’s tactical change involving Trent Alexander-Arnold has been praised by Pep Guardiola and has helped Liverpool win seven straight Premier League games.

Klopp first trialled Alexander-Arnold occupying midfield positions during the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Arsenal on Easter Sunday, a system he has since stuck by. The inverted full-back role sees the No.66 move into advanced positions when on the attack, covered by the right-sided defender when venturing forwards.

The West Derby-born defender and his team-mates have since triumphed over Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, Brentford, and Leicester City as a result of this change in strategy that has brought out the best in both of them.

Alexander-Arnold has received harsh criticism for some of his defending throughout this season, but after being given permission to move into central areas, he has benefited from an attacking standpoint. The impact the Academy graduate is now having is evident by the six assists and one goal he has scored in his last seven starts, something Guardiola has not overlooked.

John Stones has played in a similar hybrid role for the Manchester City manager, and it has been very successful ever since it was introduced. When asked if this season has been his most difficult from a tactical standpoint, the Catalan coach replied: “Sometimes the team evolves depending on the opponents and their problems they create for you.

“For two reasons, you cannot play the same way for seven years. We used to play with a false nine, but now that we play with Erling Haaland, our defense and attack are completely different. The second is that your adversaries don’t defend in the same manner because they are aware of your identity and have learned personal information about your players. You must develop a new counter system as soon as they implement one.

“Alexander-Arnold is now playing inside for Liverpool.” The 52-year-old continued, “He used to play all the time outside and is now playing inside. Opponents discovered a way to attack, and with Alexander inside, they are now solving a lot of problems. With Fabinho inside, opponents will in the future find a way to counter defender Alexander-Arnold. To accomplish it, Jurgen will find a way. While I would love to play with the same system for seven years without my opponents noticing, that rarely occurs.”

Liverpool is the only team to have managed to stop the dominance of the Sky Blues in the division during this time, and City are on the verge of winning their fifth Premier League championship in as many years. Despite dominating for a number of months, Arsenal faded away and may have ended this season as champions.

Offering his view on whether claiming top spot this term will mean more compared to previous years, Guardiola added: “No. We cannot deny the titles vs Liverpool were easier. Not at all. I think with the top six, we invite one or two more to sit on the table. Newcastle are one game away from the Champions League. I saw them against Brighton, to see how good they played, and Newcastle deserve to be there for what they have done this season.”

Igbo Kennedy

Igbo Kennedy

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