Liverpool have been handed a huge boost in the title race after Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold all returned to training following a period of time out through injury, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) February 7, 2019
Obviously, Jurgen Klopp will be delighted to have two midfielders back in Henderson and Wijnaldum, but the major boost for the former Borussia Dortmund boss will be to have Alexander-Arnold back in the fold.
In the England international’s absence, Klopp had been given a huge headache at right-back.
Fans of the title challengers have watched uncomfortably as utility man James Milner has been deployed in the role, whilst Henderson also played there in the 1-1 draw against Leicester – in the three games without Alexander-Arnold, the Reds haven’t kept a clean sheet and picked up five points out of a possible nine.
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Milner, in particular, was given a torrid time by Wilfried Zaha against Crystal Palace playing in that area, receiving a red card for two bookable offences, whilst Felipe Anderson also had him on toast in another 1-1 draw, this time against West Ham.
Alexander-Arnold is pivotal to Liverpool’s style, as he uses his technical ability to play incisive passes into the midfield as well as switching the play to kickstart the attack.
The 20-year-old’s pace is also far superior to that of Henderson and Milner, meaning he should be able to cope with tricky wingers such as the aforementioned duo of Zaha and Anderson.
Liverpool’s academy graduate is also a much better crosser of the ball, and should be able to provide added impetus going forward to help pin back the opposition, who have been given far too much encouragement in recent games going forward as a result of Milner and Henderson’s reluctance to push on effectively and consistently.
The Reds have allowed Manchester City, and even Tottenham, back into the title race as a result of their inability to capitalise on the Cityzens’ loss to Newcastle, but Alexander-Arnold’s return should reinvigorate them.