Former Red Steve Nicol believes that Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold had a poor game against Atletico Madrid last night.

Liverpool lost the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Saul Niguez’s first-half strike ultimately gives the Spanish giants something to defend come the second leg at Anfield on March 11.

The Reds simply could not break down a stubborn Atletico Madrid defence, and one of the key reasons why that was the case was because Alexander-Arnold did not have the impact that he normally would from an attacking point of view.

However, Nicol was more concerned with how the 21-year-old defended throughout the match.

“On the break, I’ve never seen Liverpool look so vulnerable,” Nicol said on ESPN FC.

“Especially down their right, Atleti’s left.

“Alexander-Arnold doesn’t know how to pick up good positions defensively, and doesn’t know when to go and challenge.

READ: Andy Robertson sends warning to Atletico Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 18: Renan Lodi of Atletico Madrid is challenged by Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC at Wanda Metropolitano on February 18, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

READ: Michael Owen explains why Liverpool loss to Atletico is still a decent result

“That means that the man next to him, Joe Gomez, is in no-man’s land.

“Everything came down that side, and actually with 15 minutes to go I thought ‘I’d take a 1-0 defeat today’.

“Quite frankly it could have – and should have – been more.”

There is no denying that Alexander-Arnold is much better going forward than he is defensively. However, Nicol’s comments are somewhat harsh.

Yes, Alexander-Arnold did not have the greatest of games, but that is sport in general. You are not going to play to the best of your ability on a weekly basis.

The reality is that Alexander-Arnold has been sensational for Liverpool this season.

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Freelance sports journalist and Red from Melbourne.

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