Carragher criticised the Liverpool right-back after Jurgen Klopp’s side were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Real Madrid.
Following another difficult night for Liverpool’s backline, former Reds vice-captain Jamie Carragher did not hold back when assessing Trent Alexander-Arnold's defensive performance at the Bernabeu.
Liverpool suffered a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday, while Real Madrid booked their place in the UCL quarter-finals with a 6-2 aggregate victory. Across the two legs, Alexander-Arnold struggled to deal with the likes of Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema.
Carragher questions Alexander-Arnold's defensive abilities
Speaking as a pundit on CBS, Carragher said:
“We all know his defending isn't good enough. I don't think it will ever be good enough. We're talking about a player who's played 260 games. It's not going to massively improve now.
“When Liverpool drop off and aren't one of the best teams in Europe, like they have been for the last four years, now they're one of the pack going for the Champions League. Then you're doing more defending, and less attacking. You're seeing the worst traits of Trent, and not his strengths going forward.”
Should Liverpool buy a new right-back in the summer?
Suggesting that Alexander-Arnold needs competition in order to thrive, Carragher said:
“The problem they've got is that they've never had real competition in that position for Trent. One of the reasons why is because he's been so good. Then you think, who do you buy? How much do you spend? For someone who's not going to play every week.
“The point Liverpool are at now, they've got to go and buy a right-back. That's Jurgen Klopp's call in terms of how good that right-back is, how much he costs. That lad needs serious competition. He's been playing now for five years at the top level, week-in, week-out, with no rest.”
What do Alexander-Arnold's stats tell us?
When you look at Alexander-Arnold's numbers in both the Premier League and Champions League across the current campaign and last season, several notable statistics stand out.
First, it is worth noting that the 24-year-old averages 2.07 tackles per 90 minutes this term, compared to 1.41 last season. On top of that, he averages 0.53 aerial duels won in 2022-23, while he averaged 0.39 in the same metric in 2021-22.
Although Alexander-Arnold is averaging fewer assists, chances created and completed final-third passes this season, his defensive numbers have improved. That said, Liverpool have done a lot more defending as they have struggled to dominate games.
There is no denying that Alexander-Arnold is among the best in the business when it comes to the attacking side of the game. However, his defensive abilities will continue to be called into question as Liverpool’s form fluctuates.
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