With TAA close to a return and Conor Bradley thriving, what are LFC's options?

In Alexander-Arnold's absence, Conor Bradley has stepped up and proven himself as a top player.

Liverpool FC v AC Sparta Praha: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Europa League 2023/24
Liverpool FC v AC Sparta Praha: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Europa League 2023/24 / Visionhaus/GettyImages

When Trent Alexander-Arnold went down with an injury, Liverpool supporters feared the worst. The homegrown star brings a unique quality to the side, the likes of which has rarely been seen at his position, making him extremely tough to replace.

However, Conor Bradley has gone and done just that. The Northern Irish 20-year-old has averaged a FotMob match score of 7.99 in Premier League play, showing maturity beyond his years in defense and even a flash of that Trent-style progressive dribbling and playmaking.

It's worth noting that Trent was in some of the best form of his Liverpool career when he went down, both in terms of attack and defense, and he's one of the true fixtures of this club.

Still, it's hard to fathom Bradley being benched in his current form. So, faced with the best-possible problem to have, what can manager Jürgen Klopp do with Alexander-Arnold ready to re-enter the XI?

Option 1:

The first option is the simplest; rotate the two, especially as Alexander-Arnold regains fitness. This is probably what we'll see early on, as the more veteran player re-establishes himself on the pitch.

Having a trusted second option like Bradley is also invaluable as the team approaches the fixture-clogged season's end.

Still, eventually, both will potentially be ready to play on a regular basis. So if he doesn't want to keep rotating the two players, Klopp could keep both on the pitch.

This might not be as challenging as it might sound; the dynamic quality that makes Alexander-Arnold such a special player also gives Liverpool the ability to play him at positions other than right-back.

Option 2:

He could be played as a true midfielder, where his relative defensive frailties could be a bit less on display. Klopp played around with putting him in this role towards the end of last season to great effect, but the change couldn't be made permanent without a long-term replacement at right back- which the Reds now appear to have.

Klopp could also steal a page from Pep Guardiola's book and play Alexander-Arnold in a hybrid defender/midfielder role like the Manchester City boss has done with John Stones.

However, Guardiola usually puts Stones in this spot alongside a back three; a back four, then Alexander-Arnold, then just two true midfielders would be a bold choice.

So, if he wants both dynamic talents on the field at the same time, expect Klopp to finally make the long-awaited move of shifting Alexander-Arnold up to midfield.

Liverpool has been infinitely better in the center of the pitch as compared to last year, with summer additions like Alexis Mac Allister and Wataru Endō making tremendous impacts. Still the passing acumen of Alexander-Arnold is too good to miss out on, and Bradley has rather forced his way into the XI.