Jurgen Klopp has hit back at critics of Trent Alexander-Arnold by insisting that the right-back would not be at Liverpool if he couldn't defend.
Alexander-Arnold set up Sadio Mane to score Liverpool's winner against West Ham at Anfield on Saturday, taking his tally of assists for the season to 16 - his best-ever total in the Premier League.
The 23-year-old's talents going forward have never been in doubt, but some have suggested that he often leaves the Reds exposed at the other end of the pitch, much to Klopp's bemusement.
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What's been said?
Asked whether he knows why the defensive side of Alexander-Arnold's game continues to be called into question, the Liverpool boss told reporters post-match: “Absolutely, I don’t understand that, that’s true, but I don’t think I will change that with whatever I will say.
“But if he couldn’t defend, he would not play here – at least not that in that position.
“He improved in all departments and defending of course as well, but he is so young that he can improve and has to improve, but yes, his defending is not a problem we have.”
Alexander-Arnold's Liverpool record
Alexander-Arnold initially broke into Liverpool's first team in 2016, and has since appeared in 211 games for the club, including 32 so far this term.
The England international has recorded 12 goals and 60 assists during his time Anfield, while also getting his hands on Premier League, Champions League, League Cup and FIFA Club World Cup winners' medals.
Liverpool boast the third-best defensive record in the top-flight in 2021-22 and Alexander-Arnold will likely be back in Klopp's starting XI when they face Brighton on March 12, but they will first focus on the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Inter on Tuesday.