Liverpool are blessed with two of the best attacking full-backs in world football at the moment. Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold make up an electric twosome who add extra pressure to any opposition already struggling with Jurgen Klopp’s blistering attack.
However, given Liverpool’s most recent performance as a team and Robertson’s personal numbers on international duty, does the German need to come up with a new game-plan?
Despite being awarded SofaScore’s Man of the Match rating, the Scotland captain put in a somewhat confusing performance.
His eye for breaking down attacks was sharp, evident in his two tackles and 6/8 ground duels won. He also tried to edge his side over the line by contributing three key passes and creating a goalscoring opportunity. But for all his efforts, the Scots still slumped to a 0-0 draw. Without their win in the penalty shootout, the result would have been a very disappointing one for all the work put in.
In fact, Robertson’s performance going forward was overall quite wasteful. In his 13 attempted crosses, he was only successful with six of them. He similarly attempted 13 long balls and pulled off just four accurate passes. He also lost the ball a whopping 28 times, which would be justified if his side managed to bag some goals, but given the scoreline, it could be something Klopp must review when the left-back returns to Merseyside.
Liverpool seriously struggled defensively against Aston Villa in their most recent Premier League fixture. The Villans fired an unbelievable seven goals past the reigning champions after making easy work of carving open their backline. Robertson lost possession 27 times that game but was without his usual attacking numbers to show for it.
Similarly, Gini Wijnaldum was also caught out, losing possession 11 times and failing to make any attacking contributions, leaving the left-flank looking very open (via Sofascore). With clubs now starting to expose Liverpool’s defence, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold must be more cautious when making their runs to join the attack.
Perhaps the £57.6million-rated defender was trying to make up for Sadio Mane’s absence against Villa, but with only Fabinho to rely on to protect the defence, Liverpool’s back four need a more solid line.
Once Thiago Alcantara returns to action, the Reds will have more chance creations in midfield, justifying Robertson staying back and defending for the majority of the game. Klopp must see Villa as a huge learning curve and potentially rethink his options before another team capitalises.