This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Liverpool are now all but qualified for the next round of the Champions League.
The Reds were in action against Genk on Tuesday, and prevailed 2-1 thanks to goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
They now top their group in Europe’s premier club competition, five points clear of third-placed Red Bull Salzburg with just two matches left.
Jurgen Klopp made several changes to the side that won 2-1 against Aston Villa at the weekend, but one of those to keep his place was Trent Alexander-Arnold.
One of Liverpool’s stars under the former Borussia Dortmund manager, he displayed both experience and naivety against de Smurfen.
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First, let’s look at the positives. Defensively, he had some good moments, winning three tackles and making three interceptions. In both aspects, he led the way among his teammates. Going forward, too, he shone at times, creating four chances and landing a game-high two crosses.
However, just two of 12 found their target, and that was not the only area of his game that was below his usual high standards. The seven-time England international lost possession an astonishing game-high 32 times, with the next worse being Joakim Maehle with 24. James Milner, the next Liverpool player, lost the ball on just half as many occasions.
The stats won’t tell the whole story either. For example, the 21-year-old will be credited with an interception for the way he took the ball off Mbwana Samatta’s head just before the visitors equalised, but he was only forced to make such a last-ditch challenge after he failed to track the Tanzania international’s run quickly enough. Had he been marking his man properly, he may have even been able to avoid the corner that led to the leveller which he instead gave away.
We often forget that he is just 21 years old, but considering he already has 100 first-team appearances for the Reds and has a Champions League medal, there is only so much slack he can be cut when using the argument of his youth.
Against Genk, it was not necessarily an issue – Liverpool could afford to be slightly off the pace and still dominate. But it will be a much different story against Manchester City at the weekend.
The £72m-valued right-back – as per Transfermarkt – needs to eradicate this type of sloppiness immediately, otherwise the likes of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero will be waiting to take advantage.