Assist king Alexander-Arnold says clean sheets are more important to Liverpool's success
The right-back, who has already equaled his own record for assists in a season, says the team’s focus is on defence, but his partner isn’t so sure
Trent Alexander-Arnold has insisted that clean sheets are more important to him than assists, but the other member of Liverpool’s stellar full-back duo, Andrew Robertson, believes “it’s all about getting the balance right”.
The pair have been instrumental in attack and defence for the Merseysiders this season as they have opened up a commanding 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
Despite saying he wanted to extend his record for assists by a defender in a Premier League season, which he set at 12 last season and has equalled already this year, England right-back Alexander-Arnold said he thought a strong defensive record was key to the Reds’ success this campaign.
“It’s defending. It’s the foundation to any result. You get a clean sheet you can’t lose the game. That’s our mentality,” the 22-year-old told Sky Sports.
“If we build the foundations with the defensive work and not conceding, we then have the attackers and the midfielders and even ourselves to go forward and create goals.
“More times than not we do score in games, so if we keep clean sheets we will win games.”
Robertson, the left-back who chipped in with 11 assists last campaign and has seven so far in 2019-20, said that while defending was crucial, the support of the midfield allows the pair to get forward, as manager Jurgen Klopp wants.
“Trent has said we believe that we can keep clean sheets and I think the midfield is key to that,” he said as he sat next to Alexander-Arnold.
“The manager wants us to get forward, he wouldn’t be happy if me and Trent were just stood on the halfway line defending and the back four just stayed where they are.
“It’s up to us to take the opportunities to get forward when we feel it is right.
“We have people like Fabinho, [Jordan Henderson, [James Milner] and [Georgino Wijnaldum] who will cover for us, or sometimes they go and we cover for them.
“It’s all about getting the balance right. Different games see different spaces open up and on the wings there is sometimes lots of space that we need to capitalise on.
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“It’s no use to us if we’re just sitting back and focusing on the clean sheet because we know we can create chances and we’ve proven that.”