Jurgen Klopp: I've never seen a right-back like Trent Alexander-Arnold

Klopp is full of support for Alexander-Arnold
Klopp is full of support for Alexander-Arnold / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Jurgen Klopp has continued his defence of Liverpool right-back in the wake of controversial comments from England manager Gareth Southgate.

Southgate failed to find a single minute for Alexander-Arnold during the past international break, even dropping the 23-year-old from his matchday squad to face Germany, before explaining why he believes Kieran Trippier is ahead in the pecking order.

Unsurprisingly, Klopp was surprised by Southgate's opinion, and he has heaped praise on Alexander-Arnold ahead of his return to club football.

“When we do a high press Trent is often the highest of all those at the back," Klopp began. "That is the way we play football.

"Now, you can say: ‘You should defend better,’ but you cannot have everything because if you want to play high press you need players in specific positions. If the next ball goes long on that [right] side then Joel [Matip], Ibou [Konate] or Joe [Gomez] has to cover him.

"It is the risk we take. It is not a crazy risk and we win the ball nine out of 10 times, but in the one moment we don’t win it people ask: ‘Where is Trent?’

"That is a question I don’t understand from people who watch football so often. People say that is his main job but I told him he has to be there [higher up the pitch].

“Yes, there are other situations where he was not aware or there was a challenge he should have won. Every player has these challenges. But with him? Every time it is picked up and analysed, all the experts saying this is a weakness.

"Honestly, I just don’t get it. A world-class talent gets judged by the one thing he is not as world class at as the other things? If he was not a good defender, he would not play.”

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Klopp went on to acknowledge that Alexander-Arnold has been guilty of defensive lapses but argued that his individual mistakes were a consequence of Liverpool's poor play at the back as a whole unit.

“First part of the season we as a team didn’t defend well," Klopp explained. "Analysing was easy. It was like: ‘Oh my God, what is that?’ As a defender, Trent is a part of that but with all the other three as well, or in our case the other six as well.

"Defending is an art, if you want, because everything has to work together. Offensively one skill or one guy makes the difference. Goal. Defensively, it is not possible that one guy defends the whole pitch. You need everybody involved and we were not good at that. That is the truth and my responsibility.

“Trent did not do well in these moments as well. In other moments he defends exceptionally well but nobody mentions it. If you judge a player you think about his overall package. The skill set he has for being influential in possession is mad. I don’t know if I ever saw a right-back like this – passing here, passing there, switching sides, taking free-kicks, corners, smart decisions, quick decisions.

"He is an outstanding football player in a situation where three other right-backs in this country are doing really well. We should not forget that. Gareth Southgate cannot line up all four. So one or two will be disappointed.”