Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has warned Trent Alexander-Arnold that he has a “tonne” of improvement to do in the defensive side of his game.
The Reds have suffered a drop-off in form of late, winning only two of their previous six Premier League games.
Several issues have been touted as the cause. Indeed, a lack of killer instinct from forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah has not helped.
However, Alexander-Arnold has also faced criticism of late; the England international gave the ball away 38 times against Southampton, the most of any player in any game this season.
But while Nicol admits that the right-back’s struggles going forward are not entirely his doing, he has told the player that he must get his act together when defending.
“I think he definitely has to improve defensively, no question,” the pundit told ESPN FC.
“I think going forward, recent games, it’s been difficult for him. He normally has space to put the ball in but because of the way the opposition has played he’s put the ball into a box that’s full of, what, two teams basically, you’re talking 14 players.
“That makes it tough for him going forward. No question defensively, he has to improve a tonne.”
Alexander-Arnold’s drop off is rare given his excellent form in recent seasons. He has continued to be one of Liverpool’s most reliable players in creating chances.
However, his defensive capabilities have previously come under scrutiny.
Klopp defends Alexander-Arnold
Speaking in his most recent press conference, though, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp issued a strong defence of the 22-year-old.
The German said: “That’s normal if you play football in public and have people used to the level Trent showed over the last three or four years, since he started playing with us pretty much, then that’s normal.
“In a game like this it was an obvious case of not his best game, he knows this. We know that and that’s clear.
“There are explanations for this season if you want. But he had good games as well absolutely and helped us a lot at different moment.”