Ferdinand slams Alexander-Arnold after Benzema explains how ploy to exploit Liverpool paid off
Rio Ferdinand has criticised Trent Alexander-Arnold for “switching off” for Real Madrid’s goal in their 1-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday.
The Reds had a mountain to climb after the first leg, and were unable to put up much of a fight to turn around the 5-2 deficit.
As Liverpool struggled to create chances, Karim Benzema scored in the 78th minute to put the tie beyond doubt.
And the Frenchman revealed after the game that he told Eduardo Camavinga to exploit the space between the Liverpool centre-backs.
The 35-year-old revealed: “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.”
But Ferdinand started by analysing Alexander-Arnold’s defensive contribution.
The Reds full-back had been alongside Vinicius Junior before he allowed the winger to breeze past him into the box.
Ferdinand told BT Sport: “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.
“You’ve got to be thinking defensively, you’ve got to be thinking ‘my two centre 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’. That’s got to be your first and only thought in this phase of play.
“The ball goes through, then look at the separation as the ball comes down to Vinicius there. 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.”
Ferdinand was also far from impressed with the role of Liverpool’s centre-backs, Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, in the goal.
He added: “Again, it’s a lovely ball; [if] I’m a centre back and that distance between one centre back and the other at this stage – with, by the way, one of the deadliest, lethal strikers [Benzema] in this position – with the midfielder actually facing play as well, I’m baffled as to why one of those centre 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.
“Do you know who the conductors are to get Fabinho across to stop the ball there? These two [Konate and Van Dijk have to be the talkers]. They have to be the ones that have to be screaming because they can see it all from behind. 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.”
READ MORE: Liverpool surrender to the inevitable as Real Madrid run down the clock
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