‘He is certainly…’ – Gary Lineker makes glowing Trent claim after what he saw at Anfield on Sunday

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Gary Lineker has claimed that Trent Alexander-Arnold is currently ‘the best passer of the ball’ in the Premier League and possibly even Europe.

For the second weekend in a row, the Liverpool vice-captain came up with a crucial late goal to earn points for his side, with the dramatic 4-3 win over Fulham bringing the Reds back to within two points of leaders Arsenal.

He also completed 66 passes (second-most of anyone for LFC), made two key passes and delivered a team-high eight accurate long balls (Sofascore).

A combination of being given the vice-captaincy in the summer and deploying him in a hybrid full-back/midfield role has made the 25-year-old more influential than ever before at Anfield, and the Match of the Day host simply loves watching him ping the ball around the pitch with aplomb.

Speaking on The Rest is Football podcast, Lineker said of Trent: “He is a wonderful footballer. I mean, I have been a fan of his for many years.

“Everyone knows that, in fact from the first few times I saw him I used to think he has got to be a midfield player and I think he was a youngster. It was one of those situations where they see a talent and they think we will get him in the team but you can’t get him in his position.

“He ends up going to right-back and he was so good for so long that he became a right-back. It irritates me a little bit when people say he’s not very good at defending and every slight error or any goal that goes in on that side of the pitch against Liverpool.

“People have a pop at him but I think the positives of his forward play and his passing. I think he is certainly the best passer of the ball in the English game at the moment, and probably in a much bigger area than that, maybe even Europe.

“His range of passing, outside the foot, inside the foot, long passes and short passes and crosses, of course. I’m loving him in this new role where he drifts into midfield.”

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The Liverpool teamsheet might still indicate that Trent plays at right-back, but it’s no secret that his role in the team has evolved over the past eight months.

There are times when the Reds can still be defensively susceptible on his side of the pitch, with Fulham’s Antonee Robinson getting plenty of joy on that flank yesterday, but Jurgen Klopp clearly feels that the rewards outweigh the risks.

As per FBref, the 25-year-old has played far more passes into the final third (80) than anyone else at Anfield so far this season, with only eight players in the Premier League surpassing him in that regard (and all but three of those are in the 81-85 bracket).

He also boasts the second-highest tally of progressive passes among the Liverpool squad with 81, beaten only by Dominik Szoboszlai with 92 (FBref), so the numbers are there to justify Trent being deployed higher up the pitch.

It’s even been suggested by some pundits that the Reds should sign a more natural right-back who in turn would allow the vice-captain to concentrate solely on playing in midfield, a sure-fire indicator of how much he has to offer in possession.

Klopp rolled the dice with that positional change towards the end of last season, but the 25-year-old’s performances since then would indicate that it’s a shift which won’t be undone any time soon.

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