Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Andy Robertson’s position has changed as a result of Trent Alexander-Arnold moving more centrally.
Trent reprised his full-back/midfield hybrid role against Nottingham Forest today, picking up another assist in the 3-2 win. But speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp said that the change of role for the right-back has had a knock-on effect for Robertson.
“We changed the role [of Robertson] slightly, that’s clear,” admitted the manager. “We can’t have one full-back in the centre of the field and one constantly high on the left side. That’s difficult. Robbo has to judge the situations where he can be involved.
“These situations are still there but in the first moment of the build-up, yes, his role, his positioning has changed slightly. But he’s obviously a very experienced player, a very smart player and he knows when we need him there.
“The boys have to learn to read these situations right and do these things in the right moment.”
Robbo pays the price for Trent freedom
Clearly, Alexander-Arnold’s shift to a midfield position when Liverpool are in possession has been a resounding success. It’s still early days, but he’s now bagged four assists in the three games he’s played there.
But there is another side to this, too. If the Reds do lose the ball and get countered on, as happened a number of times over both games, they’re a man light at the back.
Consequently, the onus is really on Robertson to ensure if that happens, then he’s not also caught up the field.
For a naturally attacking player as the Scotland captain, that might not be easy to get used to. Throughout his Liverpool career he’s pretty much had license to get forward whenever he can. But with the shackles now strapped on to some extent, he’ll have to pick and choose his moments.
Today, that didn’t hamper Robbo. It may have been from a set-piece, but he still managed to register an assist for Diogo Jota at Anfield. His seventh of the Premier League season.
In their yearly battles, the 29-year-old is still one ahead of Trent in those stakes. With his younger teammate now starting to fill his boots once again though, Robbo may have to soon admit defeat. Someone’s got to stay back after all.