Friday, 31 May 2019

Move over, Marcelo & Carvajal: Robertson & Alexander-Arnold are now world’s best full-back duo

The Reds pair have provided a constant supply line – and countless assists - for Jurgen Klopp's side over the past two seasons

The dream, says Pep Lijnders, is simple.

“We want like four or five players in the box,” the Liverpool assistant manager told Goal back in February. 

“We always said that our dream is one full-back crosses, and the other full-back scores. That would be perfect.”

The dream wasn’t quite realised this season – there’s still one game to go, in fairness – but in terms of attacking full-back play, the Reds have taken things to the next level.

In Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, they surely have the best pair in the world right now. Forget Dani Carvajal and Marcelo, or Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba, Joao Cancelo and Alex Sandro, it is the pair from West Derby and Glasgow who are changing the game.

Between them, they have been responsible for 27 per cent of Liverpool’s goals this season. The Reds have netted 113 times in all competitions, and 31 of those have been scored or assisted by their right or left-back.

It was Gianluca Vialli who once opined that the right-back in any football team is usually its weakest player, the one who wasn’t quick enough for the wing, tall enough to play centre-back or skilful enough to play in midfield or attack. 

The Italian’s point seemed a fairly logical one when it was made, 13 years ago, but one imagines he has revised his viewpoint since. 

Alexander-Arnold, of course, makes a mockery of it. Technically immaculate and athletic with it, the 20-year-old is the perfect embodiment of the all-action, modern-day full-back. And the scary thing is, he’s only likely to improve in the coming years too.

“If he doesn’t go on to become the best right-back in the world, he should be disappointed,” says Jamie Carragher. Plenty believe Alexander-Arnold is already there.


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