Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold branded ‘Championship level’

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French football icon Frank Leboeuf has taken a brutal shot at Trent Alexander-Arnold, claiming the Liverpool star is a ‘Championship level’ defender at best. Alexander-Arnold has been a revelation since breaking through Liverpool’s academy and is seen as a huge part of the club’s success under Jurgen Klopp.

He’s blossomed into one of the most forward-thinking full-backs in world football with his superior range of passing and assists. But this season has highlighted some of his frailties in defence with a number of errors and sometimes lackadaisical movement at the back.

He’s not been the only Liverpool player to suffer a dip in form to start the season, but Alexander-Arnold has been far below his usual standards. The 23-year-old also appears out of favour with England boss Gareth Southgate with Reece James preferred to start against Italy as right wing-back.

And Leboeuf has now taken a dig at the England international, indicating that Klopp’s system at Liverpool is what has made Alexander-Arnold the player he is today. “Look at Trent Alexander-Arnold. I love the guy, his offensive qualities. But defensively, he’s Championship level,” Leboeuf told French newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

“Only [Jurgen] Klopp’s system works for him. When it doesn’t work as well as it has this season, all you see is his defensive shortcomings.”

Leboeuf isn’t alone in his criticism of Alexander-Arnold with Danny Murphy recently claiming the right-back has been given “free rein for a long time” at Anfield. And the France World Cup winner has offered his services to help Alexander-Arnold improve defensively.

“I want to take him with me to work on the basics,” Leboeuf added. “I would say to him: ‘Turn your head and look behind you, it will be better already’.”

Southgate recently hinted that both James and Kieran Trippier are ahead of Alexander-Arnold in the race to be in England’s squad for the upcoming World Cup. “You can have a style of play and a way of playing, and a balance to the team, that… at Liverpool they find a way of playing that brings the best out of his attributes and that’s what we’re all trying to do with every team,” he said.

“You’re trying to build a team that accentuates the positives, and within the group protects yourselves against how the opponents might come from you. He does have a fantastic range of passing, we’re blessed with different profiles of player in that position, if we play with wing-backs, Trippier and Reece James are also exceptional with the ball, in different ways, and we’re always having to look at the full package with everything.

“If you assess the players on all of their attributes, they’ve all been to Champions League finals, some of them have been to latter stages of major tournaments with us, Trent’s won the league, Trippier’s won the Spanish league, Walker’s won the English league. There are so many good attributes about them, it’s a really difficult position to make decisions on, but we have to go with the ones we believe, and ultimately I’ll be judged on the outcome, as we know.”

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