talking point | 

Jurgen Klopp needs to resolve his Trent Alexander-Arnold dilemma

Whelan has suggested finding a way to get the best out of Alexander-Arnold is the secret to success for Liverpool this season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: (THE SUN OUT. THE SUN ON ON SUNDAY OUT) Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)© Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has stuck by out-of-form Trent Alexander-Arnold and the full-back repaid that belief with a a brilliant free-kick against Rangers Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.© PA

Trent Alexander-Arnold© PA

Ronnie Whelan (World Cup coverage)© Sportsfile via Getty Images

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 14: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) James Milner of Liverpool during a training session on December 14, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)© Liverpool FC via Getty Images

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on December 19, 2022 in Kirkby, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)© Liverpool FC via Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: (THE SUN OUT. THE SUN ON ON SUNDAY OUT) Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 06, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)© Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Kevin PalmerSunday World

RONNIE Whelan believes Jurgen Klopp needs to find a solution to his Trent Alexander-Arnold dilemma as he looks to reboot Liverpool's creaking season.

Liverpool will return to Premier League action at Aston Villa on Monday a massive 15 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal and out of the title race.

Champions League glory will be their primary target in the second half of this campaign, with Liverpool and Ireland legend Whelan suggesting Alexander-Arnold could hold the key to success.

Yet he warns the full-back who was only used in the second half of one game by England boss Gareth Southgate at the World Cup in Qatar could also be a weak spot in Liverpool's defensive line.

Now Whelan has suggested finding a way to get the best out of Alexander-Arnold is the secret to success for Liverpool this season.

"Going forward, there is no one better and if he can develop the defensive side of his game, he will be up there with the best players in the world, without a doubt," said the legend who won six league titles and the European Cup during his time at Liverpool.

Ronnie Whelan - Can Trent be Trusted?

"The trouble is, he has these lapses in concentration and the opposition know they will come if you target that area of the Liverpool team.

"Look at the Champions League final last season and that was a good example of the good and the bad with Trent.

"Going forward, he was a threat and then you see Real Madrid's winning goal with Vinicius Junior coming in behind him. He doesn't spot those runs at times.

"I played with Phil Neal in my time at Liverpool and he was always aware of what was going on around him and sometimes Trent is not the best at that.

"You have to say Klopp is not too worried about Trent and he encourages him to go forward and make best use of his attacking talents.

"If that is the policy, then it is up to Klopp to find a way of building his team to compensate for him going forward.

"When you have a talent like Trent in the team, you want to make the most out of what he offers and that's a challenge for Klopp and his coaching staff moving forward."

Klopp came under fire from some Liverpool fans in the opening half of the season, as his eagerness to stand by the squad that has served him well in recent years backfired.

The Liverpool boss admitted he decided not to sign a midfielder in last summer's transfer window, with that policy backfiring amid an injury crisis that saw his side slip to succession of defeats.

Yet Whelan suggests Klopp deserves the full backing of all Liverpool fans after bringing Champions League and Premier League success to the club in recent years.

"Anyone who says Klopp should go or he is losing it are not really football people," continues Whelan.

"People that say that don't know what they are talking about.

"We all understand the job Klopp has done over the last few years and for anyone to say he has taken the club as far as he can is not really a Liverpool fans for me.

"There were questions over why the manager didn't sign a midfielder last summer and you can throw that at him, but there is a reason why he didn't think he needed to make that signing.

"You look at the start of the season and everyone is saying they made a mistake not buying a midfielder.

"My argument against that is they had nine midfielders in the squad and the issue has been that some of them have been injured for too long.

"(James) Milner has been playing more than he should have done, Harvey Elliott has played more than he should have done.

"Now it feels like they need something different in the midfield and they being linked with Dylan Rice and Jude Bellingham.

"It was so unfortunate for Ireland that Rice didn’t stay with us and went to play for England, but he would be perfect for Liverpool now.

"He breaks things up in the centre or midfield and drives forward quickly. He breaks the lines and would be great for him. Would you break the bank for him? Why not.

"The same with Bellingham. This lad looks to be a fantastic player and you are investing in potential for the next ten years.

"It would cost a lot, but if Bellingham plays for Liverpool for the next ten years and they win lots of trophies, it would be value for money.”

When asked how this confusing season will end for Liverpool, Whelan remains optimistic heading into 2023.

"The Champions League is a competition Liverpool have won recently and they can do it again," he adds.

"They also have to make sure they get a top four finish in the Premier League and I'm sure they can do that.

"When they have everyone fit and firing, Liverpool are still a force to be reckoned with, so I wouldn't be too worried about them for the rest of this season."

Ronnie Whelan: Liverpool Legends on tour

Ronnie Whelan is touring Ireland in 2023 with fellow Liverpool legends Steve McMahon and Jan Molby. Tickets are available now.

Ronnie Whelan, Steve McMahon and Jan Molby are touring Ireland in 2023


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