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What England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold midfield experiment should tell Arne Slot 

England manager Gareth Southgate made the befuddling decision to field Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield in their 2024 European Championship opener against Serbia.

The defender’s performance in the centre of the park is a crucial lesson that Liverpool manager Arne Slot needs to learn.

For a long time, fans and pundits have been clamouring for Alexander-Arnold to play through the middle because of his excellent passing range.

Former Reds boss Jurgen Klopp sometimes utilised him through the middle, and Southgate went for the same script.

However, playing in midfield requires more than superb passing ability. Alexander-Arnold can knock 50-yard passes to an attacker but lacks the fundamental qualities needed to play in midfield.

The England international let the game bypass him, especially in the second half when the team needed control. He failed to grab the match by the horns the way Jude Bellingham did.

Alexander-Arnold won only two of his five duels, made an error that led to a Serbia shot, and struggled to create openings for his side.

He is decent enough on the ball, but it takes more than passing ability to impose yourself on the game as metronomes such as Toni Kroos.

The German understands how to use short and long passing to shape the rhythm of the game, and the Kirkby Academy graduate was sorely lacking in this area.

Slot needs to learn that for all the talk about how Alexander-Arnold is a defensive liability in defence – the 25-year-old is just as much a liability in midfield – just more lost.

Alexander Arnold needs to be at right-back despite his defensive frailties. Slot must resist the urge to shoehorn him into midfield.

Slot prefers control in midfield, and Alexander-Arnold cannot provide that.

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