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The key issue Liverpool must fix this season

Liverpool got back to winning ways on Tuesday vs Ajax, but the Reds still have some major issues to fix.

Liverpool have already lost one and drawn three in the Premier League this season, leaving them five points behind Manchester City and six points off top spot.

A number of factors have led to Liverpool’s swift decline, but none more so than Trent Alexander-Arnold’s poor defensive work.

The right-back has never been known for his stout defensive presence, a point that has been thrown back at Liverpool fans when claiming Trent is the best right-back in the world.

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However, in 2022/23, Alexander-Arnold’s defending has been especially poor.

With just eight games of the season played, there have already been several occasions when Alexander-Arnold has cost his side a goal, or at least played a major role in the opposition scoring.

The first instance of this came on the opening weekend as Liverpool had to claw back a point from 2-0 down vs newly-promoted Fulham.

Granted that was not a major mistake on Trent’s part, but the cracks really did begin to shown in Liverpool’s following game vs Crystal Palace.

Liverpool drew that match 1-1 and Alexander-Arnold played a major role in Palace scoring. Vincente Guaita found Eberechi Eze from a goal kick. TAA was stood next to the midfielder pushed high up the pitch, but made no attempt to tackle.

Eze then skipped past Fabinho and was able to slip through Wilfried Zaha, who ran into the space that should have been occupied by Alexander-Arnold:

Liverpool’s following game once again highlighted how little defensive work Alexander-Arnold does. The Merseysiders lost 2-1 and United did an excellent job of exposing Liverpool’s right-hand side.

Manchester United could have easily been 1-0 up after 10 minutes vs Liverpool:

Manchester United would take the lead just five minutes later thanks to Scott McTominay slipping Elanga in behind Alexander-Arnold:

Manchester United made it 2-1 after 53 minutes and yet again, Alexander-Arnold’s lack of defensive effort was on full show.

And whilst all of those goals showcased how Trent being out of position and making little attempt to get back is costly to Liverpool, the right-back’s most frustrating piece of ‘defending’ came vs Napoli last week.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa has the ball on the right of Liverpool’s box. He is able to play a one-two to get in on goal before scoring. At the same time, Alexander-Arnold is positioned just inside the box and moves a grand total of one yard throughout the entire passage of play.

And whilst some Liverpool fans may argue Alexander-Arnold has not been helped this season, as he has had to play next to Joe Gomez and Natt Phillips, Joel Matip was back in the eleven on Tuesday vs Ajax and Trent once again showed how poor his defensive positioning was for Ajax’s goal. Granted it is not as bad as some of the examples above, but Liverpool must do something to prevent themselves from being constantly exposed down their right-hand side.

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Josh Barker

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

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