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Kaoru Mitoma tormented Trent Alexander-Arnold and verdict on Liverpool star says it all

Trent Alexander-Arnold struggled in two recent encounters with Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma, raising further questions of the Liverpool right-back’s defensive ability.


Kaoru Mitoma insisted Trent Alexander-Arnold is “totally strong” as he rubbished suggestions the Liverpool right-back is a weak link in defence.


Brighton winger Mitoma, 25, has run Alexander-Arnold, 24, ragged twice in the last month, first in a 3-0 Premier League victory for the Seagulls and a next in a 2-1 FA Cup win two weeks later. The Japan international has been one of the breakout stars of the season since making his Brighton debut back in August, scoring seven goals in 20 appearances in all competitions.


Mitoma is far from the only winger to cause Alexander-Arnold all sorts of problems in recent months, leading to many pundits questioning his defensive game. For all his brilliance on the ball, there are long-standing concerns over the England international’s positioning and ability in one-versus-one duels.


However, Mitoma insists Alexander-Arnold is anything but a pushover, picking him out as one of the trickiest defenders he has come up against in his career. After name-dropping two players he faced during his time playing club football in Japan, the Brighton ace highlighted Alexander-Arnold’s strength as one of his key assets.


“When it comes to foreign players, I got past Trent Alexander-Arnold once, but soon after that when I was blocked by him, his arms were strong,” Mitoma told SPOTV, per Reddit. “People tend to think that his defending seems weak but he is totally strong, from what I’ve felt in person.”


Speaking after Liverpool were thumped by the Seagulls in the league in mid-January, Alexander-Arnold confessed the Reds were entirely outplayed by Roberto De Zerbi’s side. He told : “It’s not what we wanted as a team and it just wasn’t good enough, if I’m honest.Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool battles for possession with Kaoru Mitoma of Brighton

Kaoru Mitoma highlighted Trent Alexander-Arnold’s strength as one of his key assets 


Getty Images)

“In any area of the pitch – all areas, to be honest – it wasn’t good enough. Credit to Brighton, they’re a top team and they played outstandingly well. So, they deserved the three points and we didn’t.”

Liverpool improved in their subsequent fixture against Brighton but that was not enough to prevent them suffering another defeat on the south coast. Mitoma was the man to knock them out of the FA Cup at the fourth-round stage, popping up with an added-time goal to complete a comeback 2-1 victory at the Amex Stadium.

Brighton will travel to Stoke in the fifth round and, in the meantime, will continue their pursuit of European football with a trip to arch-rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. The high-flying Seagulls sit sixth in the Premier League, four places above the Reds, who have lost three of their last four league games – drawing the other – and host Everton in the Merseyside Derby on Monday night.


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