It’s fair to say last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester United was a learning curve for Liverpool youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But Jurgen Klopp isn’t turning on the defender just yet, saying it’s clear that he has areas he needs to improve on – about what you’d expect from a 19-year-old enjoying his first full season as a regular.
Trent was caught out for both Marcus Rashford goals at Old Trafford, though in fairness none of our defenders gave a great account of themselves that day – a fact also acknowledged by Klopp in his press conference today.
Still, the German insists he believes in Alexander-Arnold’s ability and is not simply giving him favourable treatment because he’s a local lad who’s risen up from the youth team.
‘The reason he is playing is not because he is Trent or a Scouser, it’s only because of his quality. That’s why he played,’ Klopp is quoted on the official site.
‘His quality is obvious and his areas for improvement are obvious as well. That his strength is a little bit more in the offensive part of the position is obvious.
‘The first goal, he was involved 100 per cent; that was of course not our best defending but not from him alone. He is the youngest of all the players who made a mistake around that situation.
“’t can always happen, that’s not a big thing. At his age, he will make mistakes – there is no chance to avoid them constantly.
‘Then it’s all about the reaction, and I think he reacted in the game pretty well. He was not too impressed. He is on a very good way.’
Alexander-Arnold still divides some fans after a stop-start campaign, but there clearly seems a talented player in there somewhere and one worth sticking with.
Modern managers don’t always get the luxury of developing talent, but there’s plenty coming through from the academy at the moment and Klopp’s constructive criticism should be taken on board and used to help a potentially quality performer improve to the standard required.