Rio Ferdinand has stated that he is concerned with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s failure to learn from repeated defensive mistakes after the right-back struggled during Liverpool’s dramatic comeback victory against Newcastle on Sunday.
Alexander-Arnold was at fault for Newcastle’s first goal, as his poor control from a simple pass from Mohamed Salah allowed Anthony Gordon a free run at goal to open the scoring for Eddie Howe’s side.
The mistake was his second error leading to a goal in as many matches, as he was also at fault for Bournemouth’s goal at Anfield a week earlier.
Although Jurgen Klopp’s side went on to win both games, Alexander-Arnold has been criticised for his lack of concentration defensively. The England international was also lucky not to have been sent off against Newcastle on Saturday after feeling Anthony Gordon despite being on a yellow card.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Vibe with FIVE podcast, Ferdinand said: “I’ve always said this about defenders. I think Harry Redknapp said this to me when I was really young because I was a player a little bit like Trent.
“I wanted to think about on the ball, and passing and moving, dribbling forward with the ball more. That was my priority when I was a young defender. All I thought about was forgetting defending; defending was second, third, and fourth on my checklist.
“He always used to say to me, ‘Rio, I don’t mind you making mistakes, but if you make the same mistakes on a regular basis, you’re not learning, and you’re not going to get better.’
Casting his mind back to his own playing days, Ferdinand added that Trent requires work in several key areas, including his desire and mindset.
“That’s like, especially in our day, I was going up against Arsenal and knew it was me against Thierry [Henry] or [Dennis] Bergkamp. Vida [Nemanja Vidic] would be going up against them as well,’ Ferdinand said.
“We had to be one-v-one at some point in the game, most of the time. Same with Trent.
“I don’t see that he’s going into the game going, “Right, I’m going to lock Gordon down.” Maybe it’s the way tactically that teams are set up in the games nowadays.
“It’s about, “We have the ball so much, and we try to take the ball off them, and that’s the way we defend. We’re defending with the ball.”
“But I don’t see that desire, that mentality, that thought process that goes, ‘Right, he is not taking the p*** out of me today.'”
“That’s my only criticism. My real criticism and worry for Trent is that he’s making mistakes defensively, especially in one-vs-one situations, that he’s been making the last year or two, even before that. You need him to learn.
“Gordon, he knew from before the game, the night before, head hit the pillow, he knew Gordon was going to be going at him one-v-one and wanted to isolate him and play him one-v-one. That’s a challenge.”