Home News Trent Alexander-Arnold’s passing masterclass in numbers – 19 into final 3rd!

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s passing masterclass in numbers – 19 into final 3rd!

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Liverpool and Arsenal boast a wealth of attacking talent, but it was their defenders that stood out during Saturday’s Premier League meeting.

The clash between Liverpool and Arsenal was a nail-biter for supporters but a thrilling watch for the neutral.

Both teams were often assured in possession and looked to get the ball forward quickly. This made for a stage on which the defenders could shine.

With directness the name of the game, Trent Alexander-Arnold made his mark, particularly in the first half, displaying an amazing range of passing that culminated in an assist for Mo Salah.

FotMob tells us Liverpool’s No. 66 played 19 passes into the final third, eight more than any other player on the pitch and 12 more than any teammate.

Alexander-Arnold’s defending is often maligned when it is below par, but the right-back stood up well to the challenge posed by Gabriel Martinelli. He made four clearances, recovered the ball six times and never committed a foul.

The game will be remembered by him for a missed opportunity, though, with his second-half missed chance meaning his xG ended up higher than any other player on the day (0.41).

 

Defenders take centre stage

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 23, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The two sides’ approach of taking the game to the opposition could have produced a goal fest, if it weren’t for the quality displayed by both sets of defenders, excluding Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and William Saliba all came out of the match with high praise.

While the latter was awarded Sky Sports’ player of the match, Liverpool’s defenders were just as good. Konate continued his run of good form, making nine recoveries – that was joint most with Dominik Szoboszlai and Martin Odegaard.

Van Dijk was imperious as ever, winning all three of his aerial duels; and, once settled at left-back, Gomez did a generally superb job of smothering Bukayo Saka.

 

An evening of hard work

Both midfield setups worked incredibly hard at Anfield. Liverpool’s main job was to close down and not allow Arsenal to play naturally, while Mikel Arteta’s team had to block space and pounce at the right moments.

The momentum graphic above showed how often the game swung. The teams were evenly matched throughout most of the match, though Liverpool will be the most dissapointed to come out with a point.

Possession was almost split down the middle, both teams had 13 shots, and Arsenal had five corners to Liverpool’s four.

 

Defensive midfield masterclass

It is fair to say Declan Rice is living up to the hype surrounding his £105 million move to North London in the summer.

He made two interceptions, five clearances and eight recoveries on Saturday, but Liverpool’s holding midfielder wasn’t far behind.

Wataru Endo may have cost over £85m less than Rice, but the Japan captain played with the same level of assuredness – he wasn’t dispossessed once against Arsenal.

In Alexis Mac Allister‘s absence, Endo has stepped up and grown as a Liverpool player in recent weeks, starting each of the last six matches.

While his weakness is clearly apparent, when having to run back towards his own goal, Endo is proving a very good player with the ball in front of him. Against Arsenal, he made two interceptions and five recoveries, but was dribbled past three times.


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