Glen Johnson believes people need to ‘back off’ with their criticism of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The 23-year-old has had a far-from-convincing start to the campaign for Liverpool but remains a vitally important part of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The fullback is currently on international duty with Gareth Southgate’s England squad and although the former right-back is aware that the Scouser is better going forward than he is defensively, he doesn’t believe that is something the Academy graduate should be criticised for.
“I personally think people should back off,” the ex-Red said whilst speaking at an LFC Foundation event (as quoted by Anfield Central).
“He set the bar so high in recent years that people are just too quick to jump on his back just because he is not at the level we are used to seeing him.
“We all know he is better going forward then defending but there is nothing wrong with that; every player is better at one thing than something else.“
Alexander-Arnold, alongside teammate and opposite fullback Andy Robertson, have reinvented the position in recent years for the way in which they offer so much attacking threat for Klopp’s side.
He may be out of form, but he’s certainly still a world-class player and he’ll play another important role for the club this season.
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All players can experience spells when they’re not quite at it – something that Johnson was eager to point out.
“I think it is a bit harsh,” he continued. “Of course, he hasn’t been playing to the level we are used to seeing but you don’t lose your ability overnight. He is still world-class.
“He is still a young lad and once he gets going and gets a bit more confident I am sure he will reach the heights he has been at in the past.
“Every player goes up and down in form and Trent no more than anyone else wants to get back to his heights.“
It’s not just our No. 66 that hasn’t been at his best this season, it’s the entire Liverpool side in general.
We returned to winning ways by defeating Ajax in the Champions League recently and the hope is that when we return to action following the international break against Brighton on October 1, we will pick up another huge three points and put together a decent run of results before the Qatar World Cup begins in November.
Following the exit of Neco Williams to Nottingham Forest earlier this summer and the loan departure of Conor Bradley to Bolton Wanderers, there is the suggestion that Alexander-Arnold doesn’t have enough competition at right back.
Calvin Ramsay was signed from Aberdeen during the summer window but is yet to play a minute for the club as he remains sidelined through injury.
When Kostas Tsimikas arrived from Olympiakos two years ago, Robertson’s performances appeared to improve as he realised his starting spot was under threat.
We could see the same happen to Alexander-Arnold when Ramsay returns to fitness or will Klopp be tempted to delve into the transfer market for further reinforcements at fullback?