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Rio Ferdinand criticized Reds fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold for his contribution to Real Madrid’s goal during Liverpool’s 1-0 loss at Bernabeu.
The Reds were eliminated from the Champions League after losing 6-2 on aggregate across the two matches versus Los Blancos.
In the 78th minute, with the game scoreless, Karim Benzema scored to send Liverpool to certain defeat.
Benzema Reveals Camavinga Advice Pre-Match
And the Frenchman, who was on his own when he scored the game’s sole goal after Vinicius Junior’s miss in the penalty area, confessed post-match that he had instructed his Real Madrid teammates to exploit the gap between Liverpool’s center-backs.
“I told Camavinga that the two Liverpool centre-backs open up a lot. As it happened in the goal. We are very happy with him. He is very young but too good,” the 35-year old said after the game.
But, while Benzema was busy identifying how Los Blancos could expose Liverpool’s central defenders, Ferdinand was quick to point out how Alexander-Arnold could have neutralized the threat if he had been more cognizant of the gap Real Madrid exploited for the goal.
Ferdinand Critical of Alexander-Arnold
The Reds fullback was with Vinicius Junior when he allowed the winger to sneak into the penalty area and speaking on BT Sport, Ferdinand said the fullback could have done better.
“I just want to take it back, what I want you to see is as the ball goes into the centre forward, Trent Alexander-Arnold – here he is,” the pundit said.
“You’ve got to be thinking defensively, you’ve got to be thinking ‘my two center halves are in trouble, there’s gonna be a chance and there could be a ball coming in here at some point’, or at least ‘let me get myself back in to cover my defenders’,” the former Man United defender said.
“That’s got to be your first and only thought in this phase of play,” he continued.
“The ball goes through, then look at the separation as the ball comes down to Vinicius there,” he said, “As he touches that ball, he’s gone from being side-by-side to being five yards behind the player he was marking – that’s a world class attacking player who you can’t take your eyes off.”
“How he’s got separation within two seconds-ish to get five yards and a chance at goal, he’ll be looking at that and thinking I could do better there, Trent, because you can’t switch off at this level.”
Pundit Also Critical of Liverpool Center-Back Pairing
After criticizing Alexander-Arnold for losing Vinicius Junior, Ferdinand analyzed the contributions of Liverpool’s central defenders, Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, to the goal.
“Again, it’s a lovely ball; I’m a center-back and that distance between one center- back and the other at this stage – with, by the way, one of the deadliest, lethal strikers in this position – with the midfielder actually facing play as well, I’m baffled as to why one of those center-backs doesn’t go ‘I’m going to go and attach myself straight onto him, I’m gonna mark him’, and the other can cover or get in front,” Ferdinand explained.
“Do you know who the conductors are to get Fabinho across to stop the ball there? These two (Konate and Van Dijk),” he said.
“They have to be the ones that have to be screaming because they can see it all from behind,” Ferdinand explained, “They can see everything – scream. Scream and get that player across in front to stop the pass.”
“That’s how you help the defensive midfielder to look at a better player. You move him and he looks great.”