Liverpool were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final clash against Arsenal on Thursday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had a man advantage for more than an hour after Granit Xhaka’s sending off midway through the first half but were unable to create any sort of sustained pressure against the Gunners.
While the team as a whole hardly got going, one man in particular who seemed to be really off the pace was Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The England international made his comeback from a viral infection at Anfield, but looked a shadow of his real self – perhaps unsurprisingly so.
As per Sofascore, he lost possession 24 times over the course of the night, with a number of those coming as a result of his completely wayward crossing – in fact, none of his nine attempts found their intended target.
Add to that the fact he was a bit of a lightweight defensively too, with Gabriel Martinelli giving him a tough time with his relentless pressing and battling. Alexander-Arnold lost every single duel in which he was involved, while he made no tackles whatsoever.
Writing for The Liverpool Echo, Ian Doyle gave him a five in his post-match player ratings, saying: “Deliveries from corners inconsistent and struck one free-kick into the wall from a good position. Regressed dramatically during second half. Subbed.”
In his post-match press conference, Klopp was quick to admit that some of his players, including those who have suffered with the virus like Alexander-Arnold, just didn’t look the same.
He said: “It’s strange. Even without symptoms, the boys, when they come back it’s not exactly the same. I don’t think there’s an explanation for that in the moment, but we have to consider that as well. Joel only came back recently, Trent three days ago. So that’s clear.”
Given the impact Neco Williams had in the short time that he was on the pitch – he had one shot, sent in four crosses and got to the byline a lot more effectively – Klopp must seriously consider axing Alexander-Arnold from the starting line-up against Brentford on Sunday.
The England defender just needs a bit of a breather after the virus and a bit of match sharpness, perhaps some time coming off the bench and building it up that way.
Whatever the case, he just didn’t look himself on Thursday night.