Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher appeared to commit a U-turn on Trent Alexander-Arnold after the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.
Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool
The Reds’ right-back came into their European quarter-final as a major talking point having been excluded from Gareth Southgate’s final England squad before Euro 2020.
However, Alexander-Arnold was still publicly backed by Carragher on Monday Night Football on the back of an impressive performance at Arsenal where he provided an assist for Diogo Jota.
But the 22-year-old looked completely out of sorts at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, constantly being defensively exposed and dropping a clanger for Marco Asensio’s second goal.
Questions about Alexander-Arnold’s defending
As a result, Alexander-Arnold came in for major criticism from supporters on social media with some even claiming that Southgate had been justified in leaving the Liverpool star out of his squad.
I’m inclined to think that remains a minority opinion, but the argument is there for everyone to see, albeit one that Carragher fought against when Gary Neville played devil’s advocate on MNF.
But you’d be forgiven for thinking that Carragher had new sympathies for the Manchester United legend when he gave fascinating insight on Alexander-Arnold’s struggles for CBS Sports.
In fact, Carragher even went as far as getting out of his seat, calling on Alex Scott for help and giving viewers a demonstration of a key mistake that Alexander-Arnold is making defensively.
Carragher explains why TAA Is struggling
The Liverpool icon explained: “He’s in position, he is one v one defending. He comes out (to close down the opposing player) and there’s no bend in the leg.
“So, basically when you go out there (and you’re low with a bend in your leg), you are low and you try and go past me then I can push off.
“I can push forward. I can go this way (left) and I can go that way (right). And you defend properly. I always see him stood like that (up straight). You cannot change direction.
“So, he doesn’t have that intensity in his legs and the focus to defend. This guy is not going to go past me. It’s like he feels like defending is not his job. [That he] should be on the ball.”
Gary Neville takes the mickey
Now, while it’s worth saying that Carragher hadn’t completely absolved Alexander-Arnold of fault during his initial analysis, it’s easy to see why people might think that he’s pulled a cheeky U-turn.
And somebody who was feeling more justified than most was Neville who, though I suspect he would still join Carragher in taking Alexander-Arnold to Euro 2020, felt as though he’d triumphed.
That’s because Neville mocked his punditry colleague by tweeting: “Hey @skysports can we sign this analyst up with the Liverpool accent . He’s better than the one I work with.”
A risky selection
However, Neville vs Carragher banter aside, I’m inclined to think that they’re both secretly on the same wavelength when it comes to Alexander-Arnold’s predicament.
The fact of the matter is that Alexander-Arnold is arguably the best attacking full-back in the world and that’s a really valuable asset for Southgate to have when trying to unpick teams at Euro 2020.
But the defensive solidity that we once saw from Alexander-Arnold has melted away in 2020/21, so it’s not difficult to see why everyone from Neville to Carragher to Southgate are having their doubts.