This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Peter Crouch has told BT Sport (via The Liverpool Echo) that he would love to have played with Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool played against Genk in the Champions League on Tuesday, and the England international was covering the game for BT Sport.
The 38-year-old was lethal in the air – he scored a record 53 Premier League goals with his head, the most in the competition’s history – and he said that it would have been a pleasure to appear with the 21-year-old. He explained: “I would have paid good money to have played with this lad. Some of the crosses he puts in are outstanding. The full-backs are superb in this Liverpool team and he is a standout player.
“I have played with some top passers at Liverpool in (Steven) Gerrard and (Xavi) Alonso but he is right up there.
“He started (his career) in midfield and some of his range of passing is top class. The delivery is first class and he doesn’t always have to get to the byline. He gets in deep positions and whips it across the face (of the goal). Strikers drool over that kind of delivery.”
£72m-valued Alexander-Arnold – as per Transfermarkt – is deadly from the byline. Last season, he made a huge 16 assists in all competitions from right-back, whilst he has already notched up four so far this term. He is a frequent crosser, racking up 2.6 crosses per game in the league this season, which has only been bettered by Kevin De Bruyne, whilst only Lucas Digne had more last season than his two per match.
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Roberto Firmino, though, does not excel in the air. Last season, he won just 0.9 aerial duels per season, which was not enough to see him ranked in the top 150 in England’s top tier.
Imagine an aerially proficient striker who is good with his feet in this Liverpool side – he would be prolific. Crouch, of course, would have fit that profile perfectly, but there are others, such as Robert Lewandowski and Olivier Giroud, who have regularly won over two aerial duels per match throughout their career, who would relish that kind of service.
Of course, Firmino is a very good striker, and Liverpool have done well with him in the side – they have won 10 of their first 11 games in the league this season after all – but even as a second option, a different kind of striker would not go amiss. Divock Origi is not exactly known for his aerial prowess.
Heading may not be as important a part of football nowadays as it used to be, but it could still be effective, especially with a player with the crossing ability of Alexander-Arnold.
Liverpool are potentially missing a trick.