Liverpool assistant Pepijn Lijnders has insisted there is ‘no limit’ to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s game, hinting that the England national team should alter their approach to better suit his needs.
The Reds’ right-back has been a creative monster over the past few seasons, shattering assist records under Jurgen Klopp, but his role on the international scene has been significantly smaller and he has not always seen regular minutes.
With the World Cup only a few months away, Lijnders sent a subtle message to England boss Gareth Southgate to encourage him to abandon his cautious approach in favour of letting Alexander-Arnold run riot.
“It is only my opinion but if you see the game in an attacking way, he gave that position such a creative boost over the last few years. True or not? Like Cafu did in the past,” Lijnders said.
“For me there are no limits and if you see the game in a certain way then, for sure [Alexander-Arnold will impress at the World Cup]. But you can see the game in many different ways.”
The Liverpool assistant continued: “[Alexander-Arnold] sees things that the stadium doesn’t see. He sees things that I don’t see. It is for us to put him in the right position to excel.
“There is always more – to create more, score more, defend better – but he knows this better than anyone else. There is always room to improve.”
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Lijnders also confessed that he expects to see a new side to Alexander-Arnold this season, both on the pitch and behind the scenes in the Anfield dressing room.
“I think that is a really important part of his game that he is close to [James Milner] and [Jordan Henderson] in this leadership group,” he added.
“If you saw pre-season then the games he played he reached a new level in my opinion. The way he dominated the right side offensively but also defensively was remarkable and if I see this boy it just makes me really proud. He trains in the same way he was when he was 15.
“The smile, the fire, our relationship is of course very strong and you don’t have many captains in your life as a coach hopefully. Otherwise that would mean you work in many different clubs and that is not a good sign, but if you don’t have many captains then the captains you have are really special.
“The bond between the manager and the captain will just never pass. I see a boy who grew, who is still growing and I really believe that life doesn’t have limits. You have to stay creative, stay unpredictable. Take for example the one-touch pass to Luis Diaz in the Manchester City game. Did we see that coming? No. But that’s freedom.”