Trent Alexander-Arnold needs to improve to ensure a World Cup spot

DANNY MURPHY: Trent Alexander-Arnold has an X-factor that his rivals do not possess but Liverpool coaches need to help him defensively so he can rediscover his best form… or he risks being left at home for the World Cup

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold has fallen short of his usual high standards as of late
  • The 23-year-old needs to make improvements to maintain his England place 
  • Gareth Southgate is blessed with several talented right-backs at his disposal 

Trent Alexander-Arnold dropped below his usual high standards against Manchester United and Napoli and faces a challenge to be picked for the World Cup.

There are defensive lessons he has to learn, and coaches, staff and team-mates at Liverpool should be helping him.

I hope Gareth Southgate names him in the next squad on Thursday because in tournament football you need people like Trent who can open up a defence. But there are improvements he needs to make.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has not been at is unflappable best for Liverpool in recent games

The best players make good decisions at the right time but if Jordan Henderson is injured, Trent can look isolated when he goes forward without having the same defensive insurance around him.

He’s 24 next month and should be experienced enough to adapt his game. Against Napoli, he was not helped by others around him, such as Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho, also struggling with form.

He has to look at his positional play and smell danger a bit quicker. He has been given free rein for a long time but he should protect himself better, even if it means sacrificing some forward runs. Liverpool have looked complacent this season but I don’t mean players failing to give 100 per cent. It’s more a lack of sharpness or failing to do the basics when you’ve not had any competition for your position.

The 23-year-old will need to round out his game to ensure a place in Gareth Southgate’s team

Chelsea star Reece James will rival Trent for a starting place for England in Qatar

I sometimes slid into the comfort zone and needed a jolt. I’m not saying Trent is the same but the coaches at Liverpool could spend more time with him analysing the defensive parts of his game that need work. He is a good listener so his issues are easily resolved. Small details can make a big difference.

Right-back is one of the hardest positions to call with England because of competition from Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier and Reece James. Trent has an X-factor his rivals don’t possess but he has to look at their qualities so he can become more rounded.

Liverpool have lost just twice this season and bounced back from the first defeat by beating Bournemouth 9-0. Ajax will be a harder test on Tuesday but they need the same attitude. Jurgen Klopp has talked about reinventing the team, which usually means a tactical switch or changing personnel. Maybe he’ll think about switching Joe Gomez to right-back for a couple of games as he’s a natural one-on-one defender.

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