Jurgen Klopp has reflected on Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s ability to “redefine the position” of full-back, with “some ideas” to continue that development.
Alexander-Arnold is, without a doubt, one of the best full-backs in world football, and one of the best right-backs in living memory.
At just 23, he is the blueprint for the role, having worked with Klopp in expanding the duties of a modern-day full-back to become Liverpool’s primary creator.
Klopp does not take sole credit for that, of course, and ahead of Alexander-Arnold’s 10th career meeting with Man City, the manager discussed his progression from “skinny kid” and discussed plans to further “redefine the position.”
“He developed in a way that nobody could expect exactly,” he told reporters.
“But what he had was the biggest mentor possible in Pep Lijnders. Obviously Pep coached him in the U16s.
“So in my early stages here, I’m not sure when, Pep started telling me about the boy.
“Then this skinny kid came around the corner and you could see he was special, but there was a lot of work to do, especially physically.
“Look at the first pictures of Trent when he played at Hoffenheim and now the man he became. Wow! What a difference.
“The position, we developed with him, Robbo, these kinds of things; Kostas, how we can play even when Milly is playing there, even Joe is playing there.
“We have so much more flexibility.
“It’s not that you tell a full-back from the first day, ‘so in these situations you are really high, in these situations you are really deep’. You develop that as a team.
“That’s what I was talking about when we spoke about what the difference was between the situation with Dortmund and Bayern and now Liverpool and City.
“We can do this because the boys are still here.
“Even with very short pre-seasons, we don’t start at nil again. We have a basis we can work from. That’s what helps a lot.
“I think in the past some people thought about other full-backs that would redefine the position. Maybe they did, and for sure he did as well so far.
“But where it can end, where it will go to, I don’t know.
“We have some ideas how we can evolve our game, but through the season, the time we have for training is really tricky, the amount of games we play.
“Maybe we’ll find some moments where we can work on this.
“But whatever you set up as a coach, 90 percent is up to the player, what he makes of it.
“Because wherever we bring Trent, in which position we bring Trent in the game, give him freedom to do this or not, if the output is not the output then you just open up your formation, get exposed, these kinds of things.
“So yes, he did well so far!”