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Liverpool Tactical Analysis: How Jurgen Klopp fixed his Trent Alexander-Arnold problem vs Napoli

Trent Alexander-Arnold was up against one of Europe’s inform wingers on Tuesday.

Liverpool faced off with Napoli in a Champions League clash on Tuesday at Anfield.

The tie was something of a dead rubber, with the Reds’ spot in the knockout rounds already secured and a 4-0 or 5-1 win needed for the home side to actually top the group.

As a result, the match itself was more about Liverpool regaining some much-needed confidence from a team that smashed them 4-1 in the reverse fixture.

And, when all was said and done, Liverpool did exactly that, picking up the win and a rare clean sheet.

Somewhat surprisingly, Jurgen Klopp opted to start Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back vs the Naples-based outfit.

The Englishman has been in horrific form this season and if he started vs Napoli, he would be facing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, one of the most inform wingers in Europe right now.

Despite this, Alexander-Arnold started and, thanks to some tactical tweaks from Jurgen Klopp, was kept largely quiet even though he was up against TAA.

How Jurgen Klopp hid Alexander-Arnold’s weaknesses

Trent’s biggest issue this season has been his positioning and his poor defending in 1v1s.

On numerous occasions this campaign, Alexander-Arnold has been pushed high up the pitch, leaving space in behind for the opposition to counter.

His movement has also been pretty static and when he does get 1v1 with a player, he generally losses the duel.

We saw this happen on occasion vs Napoli. In this clip, for example, Liverpool lose the ball in Napoli’s third and Trent is positioned high up the pitch, giving Kvaratskhelia space to run into.

Alexander-Arnold does catch up to the winger, but he is then nutmegged and Kvaratskhelia plays a pass out left, which comes to nothing.

For the most part, though, Jurgen Klopp was able to neutralise the threat of the Georgian by having James Milner and Ibrahima Konate helping out Trent.

Just minutes into the game, the ball is cleared from the Napoli box to Liverpool’s right-hand side.

Alexander-Arnold is positioned high up the pitch and unable to track back.

However, Konate uses his pace and defensive awareness to get across and win the ball.

A few minutes later, Konate is called into action once again. Alexander-Arnold is beaten in a duel by Kvaratskhelia.

However, the Frenchman is quick to get across and close the space down left by TAA. Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, has Victor Osimhen covered on the right of the pitch, which he did well all evening.

Konate is then able to keep up with Kvaratskhelia and knock him off the ball whilst Van Dijk is still marking Osimhen, the only option in the Liverpool box.

James Milner was similarly impressive in helping out Alexander-Arnold before he was forced off.

In this clip, the ball is played to Kvaratskhelia and he is 1v1 with Trent.

But Milner sees the danger, tracks back and after Kvaratskhelia beats Alexander-Arnold, Milner is there to make a tackle.

So, whilst Alexander-Arnold’s positioning and defensive ability remain a liability, Liverpool seem to have found a way to negate his shortcomings somewhat.

Of course, that could easily change if Klopp puts the slower Joel Matip back in at right-centre-back, but for now, it is a positive sign for the Reds.

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Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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