Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Trent Alexander-Arnold contracted coronavirus last year, and he believes the side effects of the disease could negatively impact his current performance.
The right-back has come under criticism recently – particularly following Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Southampton. The 22-year-old gave the ball 38 times in St Mary’s loss – a record amount for any Premier League player this season.
Klopp has previously alluded to the fact that Alexander-Arnold could have suffered from COVID-19, however, has now confirmed that the youngster contracted the disease last year and he believes the time needed to recover from the disease – with its disrupted preseason – may be a factor in its current downgrade.
“If you get people used to this level he showed, a game like [Southampton] was a clear case of not his best, he knows that, ”Klopp told reporters, via Liverpool Echo).
“He also played some good matches. He started, got knocked out with Covid then got injured, no preseason. All these things.”
Alexander-Arnold’s poor form came at the most inopportune moment for Klopp as he seeks to mend his injury-ravaged defense in a bid to defend his Premier League crown.
With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez ruled out with long-term injuries, Klopp was forced to field a number of inexperienced young players in a bid to fill in the gaps left by their reliable and first-choice center-back.
Joel Matip has been called up more than once this campaign, however, he also suffered a season off due to injury, and Klopp recently confirmed he was unsure whether the 29-year-old would return for Liverpool’s crucial clash with Manchester. United a week on Sunday – meaning the Champions could be without a single, fit senior center-back.