Trent Alexander-Arnold: Liverpool defender says he is embracing ‘hybrid’ role

13 November 2023 0 By Total Football News

Trent Alexander-ArnoldTrent Alexander-Arnold began his senior Liverpool career as a right-back but can also be deployed in midfield

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold says he is continuing to learn his “hybrid” role by watching videos of England team-mate John Stones.

The 25-year-old broke into Jurgen Klopp’s Reds side as a right-back.

But lately he has also been deployed in central midfield when Liverpool attack, maximising the chance for him to use his technical ability and enabling him to offer more of a creative threat.

“I enjoy learning about the game,” said the England international.

“Watching things, watching players, different systems, different teams, how different players play it and there are some players who play it really well.”

He says he “admires” Manchester City’s Stones, who has similarly moved from defence into midfield for Pep Guardiola’s side.

“I think as someone who plays the inverted, hybrid role – I don’t know what people call it these days – then it is obviously John Stones,” added Alexander-Arnold.

“He is someone who, for a long time, I have admired his game; he is exceptional, so I watch him a lot – clips or even when I am just watching City’s games, I will sit and focus on him.

“I have always admired him and I admire the way [Stones’ City team-mate] Rodri plays.

“He is pivotal in that team and someone who is massively underrated but like we have seen recently, when you take him out of the team, they are not the same. That just shows how important he is.

“I would say it is those kinds of players I watch, but there are a lot. I will watch players from the past as well – [Sergio] Busquets, [Xabi] Alonso, [Andrea] Pirlo, Stevie G [Gerrard] – those players I have always enjoyed watching.”

Alexander-Arnold was first played in central midfield by England boss Gareth Southgate in a game with Andorra in 2021, and he is now listed as a midfielder whenever he is called up by the national team.

At the time, Liverpool manager Klopp questioned the decision to play him in midfield, but the German has also since handed the defender more freedom in possession.

“The conversations I have had with the [England] manager and the staff there, I go there as a midfielder, I train there and that is where I try and play on the pitch, barring the Australia game last time,” he added.

“It really does help me in that sense. I am not playing midfield week in, week out here but I am getting on the ball in central areas and knowing how to receive and conduct yourself and play a game in midfield is a lot different to at the side of the pitch.

“I think the way I see it and the way I am told and explained to play it [at Liverpool], it is almost when we have the ball I am midfielder and when we don’t have the ball I am a right-back.

“I think when the ball advances up the pitch it becomes more about protection and stopping counter attacks. It is more disciplined.

“When I come in as a right-back there is still [Wataru] Endo or Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] there, Fabinho last season, and their job is to stay as the number six.

“My job is the one who comes in and still has the freedom to underlap Mo [Salah] or overlap him, get into the box, shoot or cross, whereas as a number six it is more rigid.

“Your role [as a six], along with the two centre-backs, is to ensure that when the ball pops out of the box it doesn’t go into the striker’s feet and they can build from there.”

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