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Jurgen Klopp very angry with four of his players,and decided to end contract…




There are two ways you can look at Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp’s tactical adjustment involving Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The first is that it’s a coaching triumph, an internal solution to his side’s woes rather than a costly transfer market reprieve. Klopp has unlocked a six-game winning streak, form usually reserved for title contenders, from a side that was in complete disarray.

But the second is far less charitable. It could be argued that this switch was simply a necessity, that Klopp identified and enacted what was a clear fix too late to save his side’s season.

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It’s easy to paint a managerial observation as obvious based on a positive outcome, and we must be wary of doing so. Liverpool’s upturn since Alexander-Arnold moved into midfield in possession has been so stark that it might seem as if the answer was staring Klopp in the face. Such is the benefit of hindsight.

But even the manager himself has admitted that Liverpool took too long to find the right formula the current campaign (via LFC).

“I think we caught the right moment for this season a bit late,” he said in his pre-Leicester press conference on Friday.

There was a clear case for redeploying Alexander-Arnold long before Klopp did so. First and foremost, Manchester City and Arsenal, the two outstanding teams in the division, were both doing so to great effect with John Stones and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Every team has its own identity of course, but this was the looking like the in-vogue template for Premier League success.

And then there were the individual struggles of Alexander-Arnold. The right-back had partly been let down by his teammates in front of goal, diminishing his assist tally, but he clearly wasn’t at his most effective as a creative force.

Could Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold have moved into midfield earlier?

(Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

What’s more, the Englishman was having perhaps his poorest defensive season yet in a red shirt, and so there were moments where you weren’t sure whether he was still a net positive for the side.

The midfield move would enable Alexander-Arnold to become a more versatile playmaker and shift the defensive emphasis onto the exceptional Ibrahima Konaté, the de facto right-sided center-back in a three who had proven his aptitude for defending wide areas.

Collectively, Liverpool was as weak as ever in the middle of the park, particularly when it came to defensive transitions. Positioning another body alongside Fabinho seemed like one way to stabilize the side in these moments. On top of that, Alexander-Arnold would revitalize that department with his quality and technical skill — he could be the new signing the club had failed to add in the transfer market.

For years there had been calls to move Alexander-Arnold into midfield, often greeted with a degree of scepticism.

But comments from the 24-year-old this week indicate that he’d long felt ready for this experiment.

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As many have pointed out, he’d operated centrally at academy level, and he told that ‘it felt natural’ for the first team at the outset.

“I think the staff knew I would understand the role and what I need to bring to to it,” he added.

If there was always confidence that Alexander-Arnold could do it, why did it take so long for Klopp to shake things up?

Liverpool now finds itself in a position where even a nine-game winning run to end the season may not be enough to secure Champions League football, with Newcastle and Manchester United both four points clear ahead of the final three matches.

That lays bare just how desperately poor the Reds were for the first three quarters of the season and, by the same token, the reality that radical change was probably needed earlier.

Klopp’s recent switch will rightfully inspire excitement for next season, but it also leaves you a sense of what might have been this term.

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