The Benefits of Liverpool’s Tactical Shift for Alexander-Arnold and Robertson

The Benefits of Liverpool’s Tactical Shift for Alexander-Arnold and Robertson
January 21, 2022 Andrew Beasley

 

Do you happen to know what Liverpool’s recent 3-0 victory over Brentford has in common with their 2-2 draw at Tottenham and their 4-0 win against Southampton from earlier this season?

Looking further back, you can add in three triumphs from 2018/19 (over Fulham, Watford and Huddersfield), a pair of victories from the Reds’ title winning season (against West Ham and Chelsea) and the remarkable 7-0 win over Crystal Palace in 2020/21.

In these nine matches, Liverpool’s full-back pair of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson both assisted a goal. While there is no easy way to compare their record in this regard with their contemporaries at other clubs, it’s reasonable to assume they are ahead; following the Premier League matches on January 16th, Alexander-Arnold (with 10) and Robertson (six) had 16 assists between them in 2021/22, when the next most by all full-backs for another team was Chelsea with eight.

And as Trent’s pair of assists in the League Cup semi-final win over Arsenal took the pair to exactly 100 between them for Liverpool, it seems a good time to take a look at their work this season.

If you wanted examples of their style of assist, then the match against the Bees wouldn’t be the worst place to start. One came from a corner (albeit after it had bounced over everyone in the centre of the box), the other from a cross which was delivered – perhaps counterintuitively – when there were no attackers or defenders in the Brentford box.

The Robertson one for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in particular felt like a classic of the Liverpool full-back crossing genre, likely to show up in highlight reels many years from now. Yet a closer look at their efforts in 2021/22 suggests it might yet prove to be the exception rather than the rule in future.

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