Trent Alexander-Arnold answered his critics following his recent England snub with a superb display in Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Arsenal on Saturday Night Football.
The right-back, who was in the Premier League Team of the Year last season for title winners Liverpool, was left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the recent internationals following a drop in form this season for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
But he reacted on Saturday with an unplayable cross for Diogo Jota’s opener in the second half, putting in an impressive all-round display as Liverpool started their late charge for the top four.
Here’s what his manager and the Sky Sports pundits had to say about the 22-year-old right back as he looks to work his way back into Southgate’s plans for Euro 2020.
Klopp: I know Trent, and he is world class
Jurgen Klopp on Sky Sports:
“Trent Alexander-Arnold showed his class, again. I don’t want to make another discussion about Trent or stuff like that. I said it was Gareth [Southgate’s] decision.
“He is blessed with the choice he has in that position especially, but Trent is in a good shape. If somebody says he is not then I have to say he is wrong, that is all. But I am not responsible for [Southgate’s] decisions.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp also said: “[Trent was] outstanding. When you play a game like Trent played tonight, when you are fully in the game, just focusing on the important things in the game, then he can do these kind of things. Tonight he had an exceptionally good game.
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Arsenal
“I am not criticising Gareth Southgate, and I don’t want to have an argument, I respect his role and his decisions. But I know the player better than anybody else, any other coach, and I can say that he is a world class player, and not only offensively.
“Does he perform always world class? No. I don’t know a player who is doing that, but it is his potential.”
Asked if the rest over the past two weeks helped, Klopp said: “100 per cent. He didn’t have a lot of rest because we trained quite intensely with the boys, but I’m sure the things we did in training helped him. if you play three times in 10 days there is not a lot of time for training.”
Richards: He’s England’s best right-back
Former Man City right-back Micah Richards on Sky Sports:
“Look at the cross, he puts enough power on it so Jota doesn’t have to produce a bullet header.
“If you watched him throughout the game, he was always in these positions. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang couldn’t deal with him, playing in a role which didn’t suit him. But, it’s all about the cross.
“I’ve been banging on about Trent for so long. I do believe he’s still England’s best right back. This is what he offers, that pin-point cross. He can wrap his foot around them, he can cut them back and he’s got absolutely everything for a modern day full back. He really has.
“I was disappointed not to see him in Gareth Southgate’s squad because he went to a Champions League final and won a Champions League. He’s created the most chances against Arsenal and in the last two games as well. He’s coming back to his best.
“We all know defensively he’s not the best but going forward, he adds so much to this Liverpool team. A lot of people do like to talk, but going forward is the positive part of his game. When he does that, there is nobody better than him.
“He is never going to be a great one on one defender like Aaron Wan-Bissaka because that’s not his role, but what he can do, you see Dani Alves and what he used to do, just get really tight and press as soon as you possibly can and don’t give the winger time to think about what they want to do.
“As soon as he can get that into his game, he’ll be back in the England squad, no doubt at all.
“It’s difficult because Liverpool play so high. You are always going to leave gaps behind you and when you’ve got Virgil van Dijk and the pace of Joe Gomez, they can mop that up. He’s having to change his game from what he’s used to and that can take time. It’s not just him that was playing bad either, it was the whole team.
“Everyone’s talking about Trent this and Trent that, it’s the whole team. Now you see Fabinho back in there and it gives them the license to go forward and we’ve seen the best of Trent again.
“Three to six months of a bad season doesn’t make you a bad player, he deserves to be in there for England.”
Redknapp: He’ll become a better player after snub
Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports:
“He’ll probably become a better player after this because every player has a time in their career where they suffer with a lack of form.
“I’ve noticed this year that there’s been a huge drop off in terms of his defensive responsibilities. I’ve seen him go forward fast and not run back quick enough.
“The biggest beneficiary out of this will be Jurgen Klopp because there is no doubt, he won’t have been happy with his performances. After the Chelsea game he left him out against Fulham so he can’t have been too happy.
“But now, he will get an even better Alexander-Arnold going forward because he’ll learn from this. He will become a better player. He’s got all the attributes.
“If England play with a back three, maybe you could say Reece James plays with a back three for Chelsea. But if England play with a back four he is still our best right back. He’s one of the best right backs in the world.
“He’s had a dip, but you’ve got to stick with him. You’ve got to give him confidence and I’ve got no doubt he will come back. But he did need a kick up the backside because his form wasn’t good enough.
“He’ll come back and be even better and it might just be what he needed because sometimes, in football, you need a reality check.
“I just don’t think England can say we’ve got a good enough squad to leave out Trent Alexander-Arnold, and he will prove it. He’s got the bit between his teeth and you can see he wants it right now, and he’s going to be better for it.”
Arsenal now host Slavia Prague in their Europa League quarter-final first leg at 8pm on Thursday, before going to Sheffield United at 7pm on Sunday in the Premier League.
Liverpool go to Real Madrid at 8pm on Tuesday in the Champions League quarter-final first leg, and then host Aston Villa at 3pm on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.