Jamie Carragher delivered a brutally honest verdict about Trent Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool were knocked out the Champions League by Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Carragher’s former side lost 6-2 on aggregate. Trailing 5-2 after the first leg at Anfield, Liverpool were beaten 1-0 at the Bernabeu after Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the game in the 78th minute.
Alexander-Arnold played the full 90 minutes but struggled at times, particularly when up against Madrid’s world-class winger Vinicius Jr.
The 24-year-old has cemented his status as one of the world’s best attacking right-backs in recent seasons.
But big question marks remain over his defensive capabilities – and Carragher now wants to see Liverpool sign a new right-back in order to provide Alexander-Arnold with some much-needed competition.
Video: Carragher delivers honest Alexander-Arnold verdict
Watch Carragher give his honest verdict on Alexander-Arnold here:
What did Jamie Carragher say about Trent Alexander-Arnold?
Speaking live on CBS Sports after Liverpool’s elimination, Carragher of Alexander-Arnold: “That can’t continue, what’s happened this season with him and the number of times he has been lacking defensively.
He continued: “The problem they have got in that position is that they’ve never had real competition for Trent Alexander-Arnold and one of the reasons why is because he has been so good and you think ‘Who do you buy and how much do you spend for someone who is not really going to play every week?’
“Liverpool are at the point now where they have got to go and buy a right-back. It’s Jurgen Klopp decision in terms of how good that right-back is and how much he costs, but that lad needs serious competition. He has been playing for five years at the top level, with no rest, and has won absolutely everything and won more than I could ever dream of. I’m so proud of him – a local lad coming through the ranks – but he needs help.”
Carragher added: “He needs to have a long think at the end of the season about where he is as a right-back, and I’ve always defended him because he’s played in one of the best teams in the world. When you play for one of the best teams in the world, which Liverpool are, you do a lot more attacking than you do defending. We all know his defending is not good enough and I don’t think it ever will be good enough.
“We’re talking about a player who has played 260 games, it’s not going to massively improve now. When Liverpool drop off and aren’t one of the best teams in Europe, like they have been for the last four years, now they are one of the pack going for the Champions League. You’re then doing more defending, less attacking and you’re seeing the worst traits of Trent and not his strengths going forward. That is a massive problem.
“I thought this problem would rear its head when Klopp left and maybe Liverpool drop back to trying to qualify for top four. If Liverpool are trying to qualify for the Champions League on a yearly basis, I’m not sure Trent is your man at right-back. If Liverpool get back to being one of the best teams in Europe, he is your man. But, right now, the lad needs help.
“I do question and think about what are the messages he is getting on a daily basis in terms of his defending. Is it actually highlighted? Do they actually want more from him? Because the lack of intensity when he goes to press and close down is just not there. It’s a million miles away. It has really been shown up this season and I feel it will continue to be shown up until he is given help off the pitch or by bringing a right-back in.”
After receiving some criticism for his comments about Alexander-Arnold, Carragher responded to Merseyside football correspondent David Lynch via Twitter on Thursday morning.
“It’s bizarre you watch this clip & still don’t understand the analysis,” Carragher wrote. “If Liverpool are attacking more he’s the best to have in that role, if they defend more he’s not. It depends on the quality of the team if his strength or weakness is shown up more.”
He added: “You mention what Trent has won, I also do that in the clip & say how proud I am of him & that he has won a lot more than me!
“But does that mean we can never analyse or critique anyone from this team?!!”