Rio Ferdinand has explained how Pep Guardiola could further unlock the “immense talent” of Trent Alexander-Arnold – a change Jurgen Klopp will not make.
Alexander-Arnold was the standout performer in Liverpool’s limp exit from the Champions League on Wednesday.
Real Madrid cruised through to the semi-finals at Anfield with the Reds creating little and spurning the chances they did have against the La Liga giants.
Alexander-Arnold was one of few bright sparks but ahead of the game there was a debate in the BT Sport studio over his defensive issues.
Gary Lineker said: “Brilliant going forward but suddenly there’s been question marks about his defending. A real microscope on his performances these days.”
To which Rio Ferdinand replied: “I think you’ve got to look at it one way, it shows you how far he has come over the last couple of years that everyone is honing in on this kid’s performances.
“Dissecting it, taking it apart. Yes he has some parts of his game like defending that need to be improved. But what 21/22-year-old hasn’t? It’s normal.
“It’s because he’s under the microscope in big games. The kid is an immense talent. He has an ability to find passes that other people, other midfielders, other No.8s in the world, can’t find – let alone right-backs.”
A number of pundits have mooted the possibility of Alexander-Arnold moving into midfield – a switch of posititons Lineker sees as a genuine option.
“It’s funny you mention midfield there,” the former striker said. “I’ve said for years I see him as a midfielder.
“He used to be a midfield player before he was thrust into right back and he stuck there.
“You can see him being a Lahm, Kimmich, even Cancelo at Manchester City. He’s got that within him.”
Ferdinand admitted that while it was unlikely to happen under Klopp, it could happen under the more tactically eccentric Guardiola.
“Yeah but he’ll need to play for Pep and that’s not going to happen… He’s got to stick where he is,” Ferdinand continued.
“I don’t think Klopp is going to change him. But what I do notice about this kid, he has character.
“He is under huge pressure and comes up with the winner at Anfield where they have not won for many weeks by the way.”