‘Very much protected’ - Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen agree on key reason Liverpool ace thrived vs Rangers

Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a brilliant free-kick to hand Liverpool the lead against Rangers in the Champions League.

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Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen have both agreed that Trent Alexander-Arnold has one specific player to thank for his stellar performance against Rangers.

The Liverpool right-back has been in poor form this season and has come under a lot of criticism, however a brilliant showing that saw him open the scoring has earned him plenty of praise since.

Speaking to BT Sport, Ferdinand said: “With the ball he’s [Alexander-Arnold] a magician, the numbers he’s putting up in recent seasons have never been seen from a full-back in this country.

“In that sense, he’s the modern full-back. Where he has been questioned, is in defensive positions and I think he’ll be honest enough to say there is a part of that and there have been lapses in concentration and things he can clean up on.

“But where he does go and vacate was very much protected by Jordan Henderson and I think that factor there plays into him performing his best when he’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.”

Jurgen Klopp opted for a different formation in last night’s Champions League clash which saw Henderson and Thiago play in a midfield two.

With the England midfielder sidelined for much of the campaign, Henderson has only started six of Liverpool’s ten matches - including both of their Premier League wins.

The 32-year-old was absent for the Reds’ humiliating 4-1 defeat to Napoli, in which Alexander-Arnold came under fire.

“To have that insurance behind you when you’re going forward must be a great thing,” Owen added.

“He gets in forward positions and that means there’s a gap there but when someone’s plugging it, it means he doesn’t have to worry about what’s behind him and that’s key.

“If he’s got Jordan Henderson in the team, I think we see a different player.”

Both players’ World Cup chances remain in doubt, with Henderson only being called up to the previous Nations League matches due to Kalvin Phillips’ injury, while Alexander-Arnold looks to be far down the pecking order in Gareth Southgate’s plans.