Trent Alexander-Arnold truth could prove Liverpool blessing against Man City
Liverpool are sweating on the fitness of Trent Alexander-Arnold for next week’s key clash against Manchester City but Joe Gomez’s record shows he’s arguably the better candidate to feature.
Klopp couldn't give an exact answer to how long the right-back would be sidelined with a hamstring setback.
Weeks was about as accurate a prognosis he could give.
Alexander-Arnold injury latest
Indeed, the Reds remain in the dark about whether Alexander-Arnold will be back for what's being billed as a title-deciding game against City on Sunday 10 April.
Having once trailed the Citizens by 14 points, the Reds are now, quite simply, in control of their own destiny.
Alexander-Arnold has been at the fulcrum of Liverpool's season as they chase a historic quadruple.
In the Premier League, he has 11 assists to his name. No player can boast more.
Yet Alexander-Arnold is said to be in a race against time to be involved against City.
No doubt he'll be doing everything in his power to be fit, but whether the England international is back in time is another question.
He will not want to prolong his issue and rule himself out for any longer than required.
Alexander-Arnold and Gomez vs City compared
Yet there is a valid argument that Joe Gomez, who'd be the likeliest to stand in for Alexander-Arnold, would be the smarter candidate to play regardless.
Alexander-Arnold has faced City six times in the Premier League during his career.
However, on only a solitary occasion has he been on the winning side.
That victory came in October 2019 during the title-winning campaign. Klopp's outfit ran out 3-1 victors, with Fabinho, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane on target.
That remains the single time Alexander-Arnold has helped the Reds topple City in the top flight, though.
He's since featured in 4-0 and 4-1 defeats to Guardiola's troops, as well as a 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad in September 2017.
There was also a 2-1 loss in January 2019 when John Stones made that goalline clearance, along with a 1-1 draw last season.
What's more, in his six league games against City, Alexander-Arnold has surprisingly not registered a goal or assist.
Joe Gomez has also faced the current champions six times in the Premier League.
And, in contrast, he's suffered defeat just once. That was the 4-0 loss in February 2020.
Gomez brags two wins against City, as well as three draws.
On three occasions, he played right-back - and helped earn a total of five points.
For the 2-2 draw at Anfield earlier this season, Alexander-Arnold missed out through injury and Gomez was named on the bench.
It was James Milner who slotted in on the right-hand side of defence.
Yet for all of the 36-year-old veteran's qualities, he was given a torrid time by Phil Foden.
Guardiola smartly deployed Foden on the left flank and he persistently had the beating of Milner. Roy Keane quipped that Liverpool's vice-skipper was sent 'home in an ambulance' at full-time.
Klopp may be wary to again hand Milner an outing in the rearguard.
The Reds, first and foremost, require to be resolute against a free-scoring City side who have plundered 40 goals on their own patch in 14 league games.
Klopp's unequivocal when it comes to Alexander-Arnold's defensive prowess.
He'd have no qualms about the academy product marking either Foden or Jack Grealish.
Yet Gomez can prove an able deputy if Alexander-Arnold does not make the game and would provide more steel in the back four.
Granted, he prefers playing centre-back these days but performances against Norwich City and Nottingham Forest on the flank of late underlined he's still capable of making an impact.
And his record against City suggests he could even prove the better option than Alexander-Arnold.