Jurgen Klopp backs ‘world-class’ Trent Alexander-Arnold despite England snub
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes Trent Alexander-Arnold’s offensive impact is so great any team in the world could utilise him.
Klopp launched an impassioned defence of his right-back, whose World Cup hopes appear to be hanging by a thread, but accepts England manager Gareth Southgate has a different way of playing.
The 23-year-old was called up for the two Nations League matches against Italy and Germany but was an unused substitute for one and failed to make the squad for the second.
There has been a long-running debate as to why he cannot fit into the international side, with his apparent defensive deficiencies putting him behind Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, Chelsea’s Reece James and Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier.
But while Klopp admits Liverpool’s and England’s tactics are completely different, he believes Alexander-Arnold has the tools to improve any team worldwide.
He said: “You really want to open this box? We are fine here because it’s completely different because I see him differently but that doesn’t mean it is right or wrong.
“There are stories out there all the time that talk about him and say he’s not a good defender but that’s not true.
“He is a good defender. He doesn’t always defend good, that is true as well, but that is what we’re working on, he is a young player, he is 23.
“There is space for improvement, definitely, but we only discuss it on the level we discuss it because his offensive impact is so extreme for us, it could be for each team in the world.
“My point of view, it’s an easy pick. Whichever team I would coach in the moment, I would sign him because he is exceptional.
“Is he always exceptional? No, but I have not met a player who is.”
He is a good defender. He doesn’t always defend good, that is true as well, but that is what we’re working on, he is a young player, he is 23.
Alexander-Arnold has six weeks to seemingly try to change the mind of Southgate – unless there are injuries to the candidates in front of him.
But Klopp said he had accepted the decision and was focusing on getting Liverpool’s season back on track, starting at home to Brighton on Saturday.
“Trent came back and was not in party mood but he just accepts the decision of the manager as well because he understands football pretty well,” he added.
“He is an extremely smart boy and in football you cannot offer more than you can offer.
“For me he is a world-class player and not playing for your country is difficult but it is only because there are other world-class players as well.
“In football, there is one guy who decides if that is good enough or not and that’s the manager.
“Here, more often than not, it’s the case he is picked and for England, obviously, not.”
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox