What went wrong for Liverpool’s full-backs against Chelsea

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What went wrong?

There were some promising performances in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea in their Premier League opener on Sunday, but there was also some cause for concern too.

In my opinion, the two full-backs were the Reds’ two least effective players on the day, especially Andy Robertson on the left-hand side.

Obviously, the two players are undoubtedly brilliant players and the issues at hand on Sunday were nothing to do with their ability necessarily but more down to the change of system that Klopp has been implementing since the end of last season.

The new system is supposed to see Trent Alexander-Arnold shift from a complete right-back into a more central position alongside the deepest midfielder, which was Alexis Mac Allister in this case.

This has naturally limited the amount of times Alexander-Arnold overlaps and gets close to the likes of Mohamed Salah and Dominik Szobozslai on the right-hand side.

However, on Sunday it seems that the 24-year-old was getting caught in two minds on whether to push up into the attacking phase of play or to sit alongside Mac Allister.

Ultimately, looking at Liverpool’s average positions across the 90 minutes it seems Trent didn’t fully fill into either of these roles with complete conviction.

Defensively, it didn’t cause too many problems to Klopp’s side but it was actually going forward where the drop off in Trent’s performance was more notable.

However, I still think Trent put in a decent performance overall and I think it can easily be corrected in future games.

Robertson’s future in jeopardy?

When it comes to Andy Robertson though, I think this could be a more serious issue that Klopp will be looking deeper into.

Asking Robertson to play almost as a left-sided defender in a back three was one of the main criticisms of this system even in Liverpool’s fantastic form at the end of last season and it seems the issue is a persistent one.

In Sunday’s game, the full-back got caught out of position on numerous occasions and seemed quite erratic in his performance on the whole with Virgil Van Dijk and Ibou Konate getting him out of trouble on numerous occasions.

The stats suggest that the Scotsman played a pretty solid game, but anyone who watched the game could see that he couldn’t quite have the effect we have grown so used to seeing him make in a Liverpool shirt.

Liverpool have already been linked with a number of left-footed defenders that can play the role that Robertson is currently occupying, with the likes of Levi Colwill, Goncalo Inacio and Micky Van de Ven being linked with a move to Anfield already this summer.

I think if Klopp was to look at a more sturdy option in Robertson’s current position, we would also see Trent Alexander-Arnold’s performances reach another level on the opposite side.

Otherwise, much more work is needed to be put in to get this system nailed down in a defensive sense as it doesn’t seem to clicking quite in the same way that we see the attacking phases progress.

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