Trent Alexander-Arnold scored the equaliser for Liverpool in their 1-1 draw with rivals Manchester City on Saturday – and his performance has been lauded by Gary Neville.
Neville believes that Trent Alexander-Arnold has what it takes to become the best right-back of all time should he focus on improving one aspect of his game.
Alexander-Arnold charged forward and rifled a crisp finish into the bottom corner to cancel out Erling Haaland’s opener for the home side.
Jeremy Doku gave Alexander-Arnold a difficult time in defence in the first half, but the England international responded well to snap City’s 23-game winning run at home in all competitions across 2023.
Neville spent 19 years at Manchester United and won 85 caps at right-back for England and he thinks Alexander-Arnold is way ahead of him in many aspects.
“His performances on the ball are absolutely out of this world. The difference between me and him is night and day – I can’t even relate to what he’s doing on the pitch,” Neville admitted on his Sky Sports podcast.
“He’s playing in central midfield for 50-60 per cent of it, he’s going forward scoring goals, he’s setting up goals and assists. He’s achieving numbers that right wingers don’t achieve.
“He’s got the material to be the very best right-back of all time. But he’s going to have to be a little bit more serious about his defending because currently he struggles to get into the England team, or he has struggled.
“He will need to, when Liverpool and England are under the cosh, be able to be a resilient, tough defensive player as well.
“That’s something I think he can add to his game. I don’t give up on the fact that he can be a very good defender. I think defending is not that difficult to learn compared to the bit of his game that he has got.”
Former Manchester City right-back Micah Richards made a similar point about Alexander-Arnold’s defending on Sky Sports.
“For me today, we’ve seen the best and the worst of Trent today,” he said.
“From a full-back’s perspective, his first thought is always how can he affect the ball going forward?
“How can he get up the pitch? But in situations today, there were times where he couldn’t affect the play defensively and now what he does is he gets into the role from right-back to midfield and this is where he’s best.
“It’s the late runs like this one for the goal which are perfect for a player of his calibre and that is the evolution of the full-back. In my days, it was ‘get back in your position’, and he still has to do his job and defend properly but nowadays it’s so different.”
The 25-year-old gave his take after being handed the man of the match award. He said:
“I just don’t think we played particularly well to be honest, especially in the first half. Their formation and setup really challenged us and they had a lot of bodies in there which was difficult to deal with but we regrouped at halftime, came back out with more of a game plan and pressed them.”