Football: Rodgers, Klopp hail 'phenomenal' Alexander-Arnold but Liverpool boss insists there's no title talk yet

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp embracing defender Trent Alexander-Arnold as they celebrate the 4-0 English Premier League thrashing of Leicester at King Power Stadium on Dec 26, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN) - Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers described Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold's range of passing as "phenomenal" and said the 21-year-old's attacking instincts were as good as that of a midfielder.

The Englishman provided two assists for Roberto Firmino and scored late as the Premier League leaders blasted past second-placed Leicester 4-0 on Thursday (Dec 26) to open up a 13-point gap at the top with a game in hand.

The academy graduate began his career in central midfield and got his first taste of senior football under former Liverpool manager Rodgers in 2015, but has excelled in Jurgen Klopp's backline, making eight league assists this season.

"For me, he plays full-back as a midfield player. His range of passing is phenomenal... he was a midfielder as a youngster," Rodgers told a news conference.

"His quality, the experiences he has gained, for Jurgen he has been absolutely amazing. Trent is up there and is very much England's No. 1 (right-back) and playing consistently at a high level."

But while Rodgers believes that Liverpool are going to be "very, very hard to stop", Klopp says no one at his club is talking about the title.

"We don't feel it, we don't think about it, we didn't mention it once before the game because its just not interesting," he said. "We know the story - that never before in the history of British football has a team had a bigger lead and lost that lead. But that sounds, in my ear, negative.

"So why should we think about something like that? We are just focused on the next games.

"We have Wolves, Sheffield United, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United in the next five games so it doesn't sound like anything is decided. The number (of points) is absolutely not relevant."

Remote video URL

Speaking about the club he previously managed, Rodgers said: "They're a fantastic team and the confidence is high. They have enough quality and experience to get the job done, though there is still a lot to do."

As for his own team, Rodgers said that this defeat, which came on the back of the loss at Manchester City, illustrated that his collection of players is not yet ready to vie with "the super clubs" over the course of a whole season.

"The last two games have been great benchmarks for us," he said. "Because of how well we've done we've been catapulted into this race of the title but you've seen the quality of opposition we're against."

Klopp did not agree with the suggestion that this was Liverpool's best performance of the campaign.

"We played an exceptional game against Manchester City," he said. "We played a super game against Arsenal. We've had a few good games this season.

"But this was exactly the performance we needed. A little bit less good and we would have had problems. But we had no real problems because the boys were 100 per cent in the game."

Klopp said Alexander-Arnold's crossing, which also led to a penalty against Leicester, was exceptional but he batted away questions on whether the right-back was the best player in the world in that position.

"I'm not too interested, to be honest. We're not looking for one, let me say it like this," the German added.

"He played a really good game, but not a perfect game... it was decisive and helped us a lot. We know how important these crosses are for us, so that's absolutely exceptional.

"But I can't compare because at the moment I watch pretty much only Liverpool games so I don't see the others."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.