It’s rare that we see a Liverpool play at 3pm on a Saturday, but today is just that. This means that for one week only, all eyes will not be cast on Merseyside. Nevertheless, we have decided to delve into an interesting debate, more closely matched than you perhaps think. It’s not just Liverpool v Leicester City, it’s also Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold v Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. Let’s get into this…
Trent v Ricardo
The season is young but both right backs have played all 630 minutes of the 2019/20 Premier League season. Whilst Alexander-Arnold has registered three goal contributions (1G, 2A), Pereira has found the net twice. No assists for the Portuguese mercurial however, and Trent’s attacking prowess often shows a great deal more than numbers on a page.
Looking at either side structurally it’s pretty even. Both teams have only conceded five goals this season and both rely heavily on wide integration, so full backs are consistently available in possession. Liverpool have the most crosses in the league this season (168). However, Jürgen Klopp’s ‘gegenpress’ approach can often mean that Alexander-Arnold’s excessive tight marking is exposed.
This was especially prevalent in last season’s first-leg against Barcelona. Essentially, Trent does not yet have the experience to always position himself correctly and a shrewd side have targetted this. Pereira seems smarter in that area, able to understand when to press and when to bomb forward. Of course you could argue that Liverpool’s average back-line height is higher than Leicester’s, leaving more space inbehind, but Trent’s positioning still needs work.
Who makes your XI? Looking at an all round right back, it has to be Ricardo Pereira. Alexander-Arnold has unlimited potential but the Liverpool-born lad still has plenty to learn defensively.
Robertson v Chilwell
Offensively, both of these two have come on leaps and bounds over the past year, especially Andy Robertson. Both left backs average over one key pass whilst still maintaining enough defensive integrity to keep clean sheets. The Flying Scotsman has more assists and is a constant threat down that left hand side, whether it’s finding a teammate or just causing general havoc.
Perhaps surprisingly, Ben Chilwell has won five times more aerial duels than Robertson this season, showing that he can protect his side on the ground and in the air. Nevertheless, this one still seems pretty straight forward.
Who makes your XI? Chilwell is three years younger but Robertson was a key cog in a Champions League winning machine last season and that can’t be ignored. Robertson it is.
Despite a fine start to the season, it’s difficult to see The Foxes coming away with three points. It’s Liverpool v Leicester. Can Jamie Vardy have a party?
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