Liverpool combined XI: 08/09, 13/14, 18/19 – RB

We’re looking at the best-combined team of Liverpool’s recent title charges. In this article we’ll be taking a look at the right-backs from each season, deciding who will fill the position in our final combined XI.

Full-back is a position that Liverpool have historically struggled. To be fair, football, in general, suffers from a lack of world-class full-backs. Liverpool have, however, had several cult figures at the right-back positions and these are no exception.

2008/09: Alvaro Arbeloa – 29 apps, 1 goal, 1 assist.

Alvaro Arbeloa was a deadline day transfer made by Rafa Benitez in January 2007. The Spaniard went on to make 66 league appearances for the Reds before leaving Merseyside for his hometown club, Real Madrid.

Possibly best known in Liverpool for his on-pitch scrap with Jamie Carragher as the Reds were playing West Brom. Carragher later said the tussle was because “we want to keep a clean sheet and we want Pepe to have a chance of the Golden Glove for the fourth season running.”

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Arbeloa was a defensively solid player. His ability to defend out-weighed his attacking inefficiencies. He was an important part in securing Pepe Reina 20 clean sheets during the title race but 2008/08 was to be his last season in Red.

He did also have an error that lead to one of the 21 goals Liverpool conceded whilst he was on the pitch.

Arbeloa made a return to the Premier League in 2017, playing three games for West Ham. The Hammers won one out of nine possible points when he played.

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This analysis of Arbeloa seems much more scathing that it should, he was an elite level defender and many were sad to see him leave, especially for just £5million after pushing United all the way to the wire for the title.

2013/14: Glen Johnson – 29 apps, 0 goals, 2 assists.

In Glen Johnson’s first season in Red, fans thought that we had a world beater in our hands. By the time the 2013/14 title challenge rolled around, Johnson was nowhere near the player we thought he could be.

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Johnson only played part in seven clean sheets during the 13/14 campaign. He was part of the defence that only managed 10 clean sheets all season and only three teams in the top 10 of the Premier League from that season conceded more goals.

It’s also miraculous that Johnson didn’t even contribute a single goal to a side that scored 101 goals in the Premier League.

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Oh, and he scored an own-goal.

There’s not much more to say about Johnson other than that he was fully in the midst of his downward spiral that eventually ended up with him at Stoke.

2018/19: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 27* apps, 1* goal, 9* assists.

Still just 20-years-old and already one of the best full-backs in the league, Trent Alexander-Arnold has gone from strength-to-strength since his introduction to the first team.

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His crossing ability is only matched by his fellow full-back, Andy Robertson and he has been a vital part in Liverpool’s attacking prowess this season.

Seven assists is a fairly insane number when you think of a defender and eight overall goal contributions is undeniably top calibre form.

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Trent is widely accepted as one of the best young talents in world football. Despite the belief that he naturally belongs in a central midfield position, he more than certainly has the capability to be the best right-back in the world.

TAA was named as the right-back in the PFA Team of the Year. A magnificent achievement from a player that is truly coming into his own in the league.

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*2 games still to play

Our pick: Trent Alexander-Arnold

It really is expected that the 2018/19 defence would dominate here. With Alisson not only taking our pick, the Brazilian keeper dominated the fan vote, taking a massive 79%.

But back to Trent, he is the perfect full-back (well, apart from one certain Scot but we’ll get to him eventually) and the attacking way that Trent plays will suit this team down to a T.

As good as Alvaro Arbeloa was defensively, the game of football has evolved away from a defensive-centric style and now commands full-backs to be adventurous. That’s why Trent gets in ahead of the old Spaniard. The less said about Glen Johnson, the better.

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