Trent Alexander-Arnold may have given Jurgen Klopp ideas after latest England performance
The Liverpool vice-captain is enjoying a new role under Gareth Southgate.
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The international break is typically dreaded by football fans, as far too many times, players have returned injured and have been forced to sit out important domestic fixtures. Liverpool are a club who have particularly struggled with this crossover in the past and the latest example is Andy Robertson, who is not expected to be back in action for the Reds until 2024, due to an injury picked up while playing for Scotland.
However, there could well be a very interesting takeaway from England's latest match against Malta. For some time now, a number of Liverpool fans have been intrigued by the idea of deploying Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield. As a player with strength, pace, the ability to create goalscoring opportunities, and a mean shot capable of thunderous free-kicks, he definitely has the attributes of a creative midfielder.
The other side of the argument is that since he became a regular under Jurgen Klopp, Alexander-Arnold has established himself as one of Liverpool's most important players and he is constantly in the conversation regarding the best right-back in the world.
So why fix something that isn't broken? That's certainly a valid argument. Let's not forget, Liverpool's vice-captain is probably best known for his ability to put the perfect pass on a plate for his teammates from his role in defence. In 2020, Alexander-Arnold entered the Guinness World records for the most assists (12) provided by a defender in a single Premier League season.
The 25-year-old has also struck up a brilliant partnership with fellow full-back Robertson. But Alexander-Arnold's new role for England will definitely be food for thought for Klopp.
Against Malta, Liverpool's vice-captain was once again deployed in midfield and he proved to be a real handful for the opposition. Wearing England No.10, Alexander-Arnold was fouled three times inside the opening 20 minutes as the opposition seriously struggled to deal with his quick feet. He also registered the Three Lions' first shot on target, and while it was an overall tame attempt, it showed his willing to crack the defence, while the attackers struggled to find a way through.
According to stats from Sofascore, Alexander-Arnold completed all eight of his attempted long balls and made one key pass, while maintaining 92 percent accurate passes. His rating of 8/10 was higher than any other player on the pitch and simply yet another solid example at how he can excel in the midfield.
Earlier this year, he played a midfield role against North Macedonia and in another meeting with Malta. In those two appearances, Alexander-Arnold contributed a goal and an assist from the middle of the park.
England's midfield has not exactly been known for its show-stopping creative displays in recent years. The simple, safe and short passes made by the likes of Jordan Henderson have left Gareth Southgate's engine room without much flair. Alexander-Arnold's drive to push through defenders and carry the ball forward is everything that midfield has been crying out for. The same could also be said for Liverpool.
Henderson's midfield style often came under criticism from fans while he was still with the Reds. Flat performances caused frustration and Klopp's engine room went seasons without a truly effective creative midfielder.
The boss dedicated the whole summer to fixing this issue, and signing the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch — who aren't afraid to burst into the box or take a shot from range — has been a breath of fresh air. When put under the microscope, Steven Gerrard really did set a benchmark for the standard of midfielder, and Liverpool simply haven't even come close to finding that again since he left.
Could Alexander-Arnold be the answer to finding Liverpool's next superstar midfielder? It's much too soon to say. As a natural right-back, and with limited options in defence, Klopp is hardly in a position to be shifting his vice-captain into a new role. Especially if they are hoping to avoid teething problems in a potentially title-challenging season.
But as Trent continues to impress in midfield for England, Klopp will almost certainly be watching and assessing his options. The Liverpool-born star has plenty of years ahead of him, and full captaincy is more than likely in the near future for him, so could that be the right time for him to embrace this new role?