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What Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said to Trent Alexander-Arnold in one-to-one talk after England snub

Jurgen Klopp has held talks with Trent Alexander-Arnold about his England snub after the Liverpool defender’s return from international duty.


Jurgen Klopp has slammed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s critics after the Liverpool defender was left out of the England matchday squad for their Nations League dead-rubber against Germany.


The right-back, who admittedly hasn’t been at his best form so far this season, now seemingly faces an uphill battle to win a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar this winter, with the Three Lions boss admitting he’s behind Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker in the pecking order.


Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the Reds’ clash with Brighton, Klopp admitted he disagreed with Southgate’s decision but didn’t want to elaborate too much and create unnecessary headlines. However, he did issue an emphatic defence of the 23-year-old following Liverpool’s below-par start to the season, insisting he doesn’t understand the criticism the defender continues to face.


This first part of the season, we as a team did not defend well,” Klopp told reporters. “That’s the truth. We know that, we saw that, the analysis was easy. It was like, ‘Oh my god, what’s that?


“As a defender, Trent is involved in that. But so are the other three guys. In our case, all the other six as well. We as a unit didn’t defend well. That’s why you look sometimes in situations when you come too late.


“But defending is an art if you want. Everything has to work together. Offensively, one skill, one guy makes a difference and it’s a goal. Defensively one guy defending the whole pitch is not possible. We need everybody involved and we were not good at that. That’s the truth and that’s my responsibility.


“Trent didn’t do well in these moments as well. In these moments. In other moments we defended exceptionally well but for him, in his situation, nobody mentions them. It’s like you have a list. Bad defending and good defending. It’s like bad defending is massive and good defending you can’t even see. That’s what I see because I am not dumb.


“I would talk the whole day to him about it, I would work the whole day with him on it to be the best. But now we come to a point where a player has to improve in all parts. He’s 23 and has to improve, even offensively. He has to.


The first thing you do if you judge a player, you think about his overall package. The skillset he has for being influential in possession is mad! For a right-back, I don’t know you ever saw a right-back like this! Passing here, passing there, switching sides, crossing, free-kicks and corners – all these kind of things. Smart decisions, quick decisions. That’s it.


It’s not like I spoke to Trent and said, ‘That’s what you’re good at.’ It’s not important, he is an outstanding football player, in a situation in this country where three other right-backs are doing really well.


“We should not forget that. Gareth Southgate cannot line up all four. At least two will be disappointed, he can bring two together. That’s the situation so how impactful can he be?”


Klopp also defended Liverpool’s high-press system as he dismissed the notion that Alexander-Arnold isn’t a good defender when offering a tactical insight on how the Reds play.


“What is he good at? That’s how we judge a player and develop the way we play,” he said. “Our high press, very often, not always but very often, Trent is the highest of all three at the back.


“So it means in the high-press situation, he’s the one who goes to the right and that’s the way we play football. Yes, you can say, ‘Well defend better.’ You cannot have everything. If you want to high press, you need players in these positions.


“Either put a striker wider to cover that area or the midfield are higher, or we cover that last line with three players plus Fabinho, or whoever plays as the six, and have him higher.


“Now we don’t get the ball there and the next ball goes long on that side. Now Joel, Joey, Ibou, whoever plays there on that side, has to cover that but that’s fine. That’s the risk we take. It’s not a crazy risk, we win the ball in nine out of 10 times. In that one moment where we don’t win it, people ask, ‘Where’s Trent?’ That’s a question I don’t understand.


“Everybody watches football that often and that long, why would you then say, ‘He has to be there. That’s his main job’? Did I tell him he has to be there? No. We press extremely brave, when we are good. We defend bad when we didn’t press brave.


“We were waiting a little bit because people were thinking, ‘Will he still go?’ We are extremely brave in these situations and win balls with it. Now we don’t win the ball with it, that’s the nature of pressing.


You bring more players than you need on the ball side to make it more likely to win the ball. That leaves a chance on the other side that you’ll get slightly exposed. It’s football. The pitch is too big to be everywhere with five players. He’s involved in that.


“The ball goes in behind. Again, not there. What’s going on? But there are other situations where he was not aware of the situation, where they pass the ball through him or there was a challenge he should have won. True.


“But every player in the league has these challenges. Every player. With him, you pick it out and analyse so easily. Our experts are sitting there and see, in this situation, it as a weakness. Honestly, I just don’t get it. I just don’t get that part of it.


“We just accept that a world class talent gets judged by the one thing he’s not as world class as in other things. If he wasn’t a good defender, he wouldn’t play.


“I cannot just tell him, ‘Whenever you get the ball, just wait there.’ He’s not a full-back. In other games, you have if you have the ball, give it to Trent, he will do something special. ‘Oh, he’s involved in everything and it’s absolutely fine. He’s doing well.’


“It’s not a criticism on anybody. We have different ideas, different match plans, different ways to play. And if that doesn’t fit with England, then yeah, that’s it.


“We cannot change it. The player can only offer what he can offer and I, or Gareth or whoever, makes a decision if that fits in the way we play. The player has to accept that, that’s the world we live in.”


Klopp also admitted he held one-to-one talks with Alexander-Arnold following his return from international duty to check in on the defender following his England snub, while insisting he has no concerns about the 23-year-old’s current form.


“That’s completely normal (that he wasn’t in party mood),” he said. “It’s not like England won two games and he set up four goals. He was completely normal.


We had a talk. A normal talk. He’s not a joker. He’s coming in, ‘Boss, how are you?’ I just wanted to know how was it and he told me. I gave him my point of view on it and since then we just trained.


“In the next six weeks, I hope not for us and hope for nobody, but there will be injuries. Who knows who will be going to the World Cup. I can say, after what I’ve seen, the right-back position is not the problem of England.”


The German added: “Yeah, (he hasn’t got any assists), because we didn’t play well. How many really good games have we had? We are not done. We see that. As a team we didn’t perform on the highest possible level. There will be a point where the crosses hit the right head again.


“That’s not our problem. We will create. The more we can create, the more likely we will score. Not being involved in any other situation, that would be a concern. It’s not a part we have to change too much.”



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