Trent slammed for ‘complacency’ and lack of ‘physicality’ – He needs a ‘kick up the backside’

Jason Soutar
Trent Alexander-Arnold looks dejected

Danny Murphy has again laid into Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who the ex-Reds midfielder believes has become complacent.

The England defender has been heavily criticised in the past for his lack of defensive awareness.

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He has often shut up his critics by putting on dazzling offensive displays, though they haven’t been able to save him this season with the Liverpool team struggling as a whole.

The Reds were beaten 4-1 by a superb Napoli side last week and will need to show a reaction in their Champions League tie against Ajax on Tuesday evening.

Speaking this week, Murphy criticised several Liverpool players, including Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.

For the second time in a few days, however, he has singled out the right-back.

Murphy told talkSPORT: “I think it’s a mixture of a little bit of complacency, a couple of problems in midfield and not having your best three fit and Fabinho not being at his best and putting Henderson in there means Trent becomes isolated.

“Trent’s generally got Jordan Henderson covering him on the right of a three and helping him out when he gets forward.

“Harvey Elliott, who’s been superb, likes to get forward and makes things happen but the problem is when he’s on the right of a three and Trent’s forward, that left side can become really vulnerable for Liverpool. We’ve seen it in numerous games.”

Discussing Alexander-Arnold’s woes as a whole, Murphy continued: “I think there’s a few things.

“I think physically he’s not doing the same things that he did when he was doing better in terms of his running back and defensive mindset, ie, desire to get back in. That’s the complacency I’m talking about.

“He just needs a little reminder, a little kick up the backside from the manager as maybe a few of the others do, and I’m sure he’s done that this weekend after that Napoli performance.

“The other thing is he’s got those other players you’re talking about, who are normally so reliable, so when he’s playing right-back in a very successful Liverpool team you’ve got Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate for the majority of last season playing well to cover him and Jordan Henderson covering him when he goes forward.

“I also think that the coaches aren’t helping him by not giving him more guidance on choosing his moments to go forward sometimes.

“You don’t want to stop what he does going forward, he is the best attacking full-back in the world bar none. But if you’re playing full-back in a back four there are times in a game where you have to forget about going forward and play your role.

“I think sometimes he needs a bit of help on the touchline as to when that might be.”

Liverpool’s slow start to the new campaign is not worrying their former midfielder too much, who insists it is not time to hit the reset button.

“Does it need a complete reset? No, of course it doesn’t,” he said.

“This team was two games away from winning the quadruple. The only difference between the squad this season is three months of players who are supposedly past it, which is nonsense, and Sadio Mane’s gone.”