Rio Ferdinand believes Jurgen Klopp made one mistake during Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona – benching Trent Alexander-Arnold for the first leg at Camp Nou.
Barcelona appeared to have one foot in the final having secured a 3-0 victory in the first leg last week.
But Liverpool staged a remarkable comeback at Anfield on Tuesday evening to secure a 4-0 win and book their place in the Champions League final for a second year running.
Alexander-Arnold played a key role in Liverpool’s success as he provided two assists at Anfield – including a quick corner which caught Barca’s players completely by surprise and allowed Divock Origi to score the decisive goal with 11 minutes remaining.
And Ferdinand feels the 20-year-old should not have been left at the expense of Joe Gomez in the first leg.
‘It’s the modern-day full-back, you want them to defend and get forward,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport.
‘I think the range in their play, in terms of when they get into the final third, they can whip it from outside of the box, they can get into the box, they cut the ball back.
‘I just think their all-round game, both of them [Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson], is fantastic. It’s almost a mini competition within the team – who can get the most assists.
‘Maybe, in the Camp Nou, with hindsight which is a beautiful thing if you could have it, [not selecting] Trent Alexander-Arnold was the one mistake you could look back on, he could have done differently.
‘He went with Joe Gomez, out of the wilderness with a long injury and is mainly a centre-back.
‘But I understand [why Gomez was picked] because of his defensive responsibilities were huge, Barca’s left side is such a strong part of their game.’
After Liverpool’s stunning comeback, Ferdinand praised Klopp and the fans for the part they played in the result.
‘You cannot fail to have respect for this stadium when you come here,’ said the former Manchester United defender.
‘The emotions that this place evokes on nights like these, there hasn’t been a better night than this.
‘They took it out of Barcelona’s hands, the spirit, the heart shown by this squad, and that all starts from the top. That starts from Klopp.
‘What they’ve produced here is breathtaking and you can do nothing but respect the team, the management, and the way this club have conducted themselves, especially on a night like tonight.’
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