“Ball-watching completely”: Nigel de Jong slams £160,000/week Liverpool star that was “sleeping” against Man City

Nigel de Jong said after the game that Guardiola got his tactics spot on by pinning Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold back.

The Spanish manager did this by overloading the flanks with Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus on the right and Joao Cancelo and Phil Foden on the left.

While Alexander-Arnold had a poor game by his standards, it’s not fair to judge his defensive capabilities when defending 2v1 against Manchester City.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The Blues are the best in the business when it comes to isolating fullbacks in wide areas and creating overlaps for either Foden or Cancelo.

It was surprising to see Walker so advanced but it helped pin Robertson back and limit Liverpool’s attacking ability and ahead of the Reds’ trip to face Man City at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final, Jurgen Klopp needs to find a solution.

“I’m telling you, we can say and think whatever we want, but (Guardiola) was right once again,” de Jong said on Matchday Live on Optus Sport.

“This is exactly what he wants, the energy going forward (from Jesus) to block Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the sides as well. Trent was just sleeping… ball-watching completely.”

Gabriel Jesus

Unfortunately, I have to agree although the Scouser wasn’t the player most at fault for Gabriel Jesus’ goal even if he needs to be way more mindful of runs behind him.

Joel Matip was lazy in getting back into shape and so he kept the Brazilian onside marginally and created the opportunity for Manchester City to exploit.

That said, it’s a team game and Alexander-Arnold needs to be aware that Liverpool’s offside trap isn’t always going to work and if there’s a side that can beat it, it’s Manchester City.

Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold

Suggestions that he’s a poor defender are way off the mark but he does have a lazy streak when it comes to tracking back and it’s something that is now beginning to hurt Liverpool in the biggest games and needs to end.

The 23-year-old has 18 assists in 37 games this season and he’s easily the most talented attacking fullback in the world, however, he certainly isn’t the full package yet.

He’s worth every penny of the £160,000/week contract that Liverpool pay each week and he’ll be more aware of his ability to improve than anyone.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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