Liverpool embarked on a major change that will shape the team’s long-term future

This season has seemed endless, even by the recent disruptive standards to footballing norms. The length of the campaign has also allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to combine several into one.

How else to evaluate the Liverpool defender’s rollercoaster season, which started with him still stinging from criticism for his role in Real Madrid’s victory in the Champions League final and ended with praise for his game-changing contributions in a new position.

Between, Alexander-Arnold had varying degrees of success while modeling his style after Liverpool. It may be oversimplifying things a little, but the past 10 months have brought to light a truth about this team: the Reds typically perform well when Alexander-Arnold is on the field.

That was uncommon in the early stages of the campaign. The following week’s poor performance at promoted Fulham in the Premier League opener showed that a goal in the Community Shield victory over Manchester City was a false dawn for both player and team. Before the low point at home to Brighton, when Alexander-Arnold was responsible for several visiting goals, there were additional subpar performances against Manchester United, Newcastle United, Everton, and Napoli.

During the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool FC at American Express Community Stadium, Alexis Mac Allister of Brighton and Hove Albion is presented with his World Cup winner’s medal at the trophy.
Liverpool is expected to sign Alexis Mac Allister as well as five other players.
The right-back was left increasingly exposed as the Liverpool midfield lacked both form and energy, and opponents were more than happy to take advantage. Even though he went the first half of the season without recording an assist, things improved after his return from a brief injury sustained during another sloppy performance at Arsenal.

The mid-season World Cup seemed to have an effect on Alexander-Arnold, as it did on many other players. The Liverpool player was included in the team to Qatar after the customary contentious discussion over his inclusion, but injuries to others meant that he was only given a limited amount of playing time—a second-half substitute role in the team’s 3-0 group victory over Wales—and spent most of his time in Qatar sitting on the bench.

The fact that Alexander-Arnold was left out of the upcoming England squad, despite being recalled for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, strengthened the perception that England head coach Gareth Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland do not seem entirely enamored with the player.

Alexander-Arnold had a decent post-World Cup campaign start but was undone by another worrisome slump in Liverpool performance. The assists eventually started to come in, but questions were erroneously raised about his demeanor following a sour attitude after being replaced in the FA Cup loss at Brighton, which was followed by a shocker in the 3-0 Premier League loss at Wolves.

Even though it wasn’t a turning point, things wouldn’t be quite as challenging after that. Even though there were encouraging signs in the victories over Everton, Newcastle, Wolves, and Manchester United, it wasn’t until the team was benched for the scoreless draw at Chelsea following the 4-1 thrashing at Manchester City that the campaign really got going.

Naturally, a role change would be necessary because Jurgen Klopp believed Liverpool needed a new strategy for the remaining games of the season in order to prepare for the following campaign. Alexander-Arnold was able to push into central midfield as an inverted right-back, which not only freed up space for him to express himself but also inspired others to pick up their play.

The 24-year-old Reds player had the most assists in a single Premier League month with six in April, starting with Roberto Firmino’s late equalizer against Arsenal. He finished the campaign with a thunderous free kick at Leicester City and one final assist in Southampton’s 4–4 draw. Even though it wasn’t the defender’s best season, it might end up being the most important one, depending on how the positional switch affects Liverpool and him over the long run.


Igbo Kennedy

Igbo Kennedy

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