How Klopp reacted to Trent Alexander-Arnold England's squad exclusion


Trent Alexander-Arnold is the subject of a selection dilemma by England boss Gary Southgate

  • Could it be that Trent Alexander-Arnold would actually miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?
Jurgen Klopp | Trent Alexander-Arnold

Jurgen Klopp has reiterated his disagreement with Gareth Southgate over Trent Alexander-Arnold, but said the the Liverpool full-back's exclusion during the international break is a "common occurrence"

Alexander-Arnold was unsed as a substitute during England's 1-0 loss to Italy on September 23, the country's failure to score during 495 minutes of play meant their relegation from the tournament.

The 23-year-old was then omitted entirely as Germany played out a 3-3 draw with the Three Lions on Monday, this led to an intense debate in the media about the value of Alexander-Arnold.

Southgate explained his reasoning behind the decision to pick Trippier over Alexander-Arnold by saying that the Newcastle United's full-back's overall performance was currently superior to Reds' Alexander-Arnold's, despite the latter being nominated for the 2018 Ballon D'Or in August.

Klopp said he would have a different strategy for using Alexander-Arnold if he was to the task but refuses to criticise Southgate's management of a player that appeared in the PFA Team of the Season three times from four in a row.

"Do you really want to open this box? No, actually, you're an English journalist and we can now discuss selections or whatever until the World Cup starts, it's one of the reasons why [the media] makes massive stories over these kinds of things [and] why the team cannot prepare properly," Klopp said.

"If you ask for my honest opinion it would create headlines, that's clear. Do you want that? It helps Germany, maybe, but it doesn't help England. I don't know why we do that. It's a normal situation: A manager picks a player or not.

"Obviously I would decide differently, but I am not in charge of this team and that's how it is. If you want to discuss it, I have a lot of things to say but I am really not sure that it makes sense [to discuss it]."

"We are fine here (at Liverpool) because it is completely different because I see him differently, that is clear and obvious. There are stories out there all the time and people talk about him saying he's not a good defender, that is not true. He's a good defender, he doesn't defend always good. That's true as well. That is what we're working on, he is a young player, 23.

"There is space for improvement, definitely. But I think we only discuss it on the level we discuss it because is offensive impact is so extreme for us and it could be for every team in the world I would say.

"So from my point of view, it's easy. Whatever team I would coach in the moment, I would sign him because he is exceptional. Is he always exceptional? No. Name another player who is, but that's it now.

"The rest of it now is Gareth's job to find a team and England is obviously blessed with a lot of really talented players in a similar position and it is difficult to line them all up together and in this specific case it could work because Reece James can play in a three-at-the-back [system] and did that for Chelsea pretty well.

"It would be interest to see how they could interchange positions and it depends how you play with three at the back. But if you want them involved in offensive situations, Reece James, even [at centre-back] could be involved in that. That's tactical stuff that's not too interesting.

Klopp added: "But in the end, it's Gareth's decision and he's made a decision. The only thing I can say is I see it differently. That does not mean it's right or wrong. For Trent now, that's the most important. He has come back and is not in a party mood but he just accepts the decision of the manager now as well because he understands football extremely well. He is a smart boy and did everything right.

"As a player you can never do more than what you can offer and there's always one guy who decides if that is enough or not and that's the manager. Here, more often than not, it is the case he is picked and for England, obviously not.

"It's clear, for me, he's a world-class player and not playing for his country is difficult but it's only because there are others who are pretty good and play for world-class teams as well. So that is how it is and actually it's a rather nice problem to have. It's better than having no right-back. Germany, for a long time, had no right-back, Philipp Lahm played it for a long time and we had this kind of discussion.

"Here [in England], we have four and I am sure there are other younger ones out there already waiting. That's it and it's difficult for the manager of a national team. Some don't play for their clubs but are still important for the national team, but again, if you want to play a good World Cup then don't cook it too hot I would say. Otherwise [the media] will discuss this until November and you won't let them work properly.

"Obviously I think you could see a little bit that England are slightly under pressure because they don't play to their full quality in this moment but that is possible at the World Cup. If you want to have that then good stories with negative headlines, then work on it, if you want to be a bit more supportive then work on it and criticise afterwards."

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