Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp told to apologise to Gareth Southgate after England thrash Malta

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been told by Andros Townsend that he needs to apologise to Gareth Southgate after previously questioning the England boss' decision to play Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield. The Reds star continued in the middle of the pitch in the Three Lions' Euro 2024 qualifying 4-0 win over Malta and starred in the victory.

Alexander-Arnold created the early breakthrough with a stunning through ball to Bukayo Saka that led to Ferdinando Apap’s eighth-minute own goal, then got his country's second himself with a curling effort from the edge of the box.

He looked comfortable on the right of a midfield three with Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice, after Channel 4 commentator and former England winger Townsend called on Klopp to apologise to Southgate.

Before the game he said: “I am still waiting for Jurgen Klopp to apologise to Gareth Southgate, because Gareth tried it a few years ago [playing Alexander-Arnold in midfield] and he was criticised by Jurgen Klopp saying ‘Why would you play the best right-back in the world in midfield?’ and a couple of years later here he is, playing week in, week out in that midfield position.

“But it is interesting to see how he does take to starting in midfield because it is one thing starting in your natural position and wandering, picking and choosing your moments, but it’s another to start in midfield and checking your shoulders and having to be side-on as a holding midfield player.”

After Southgate used Alexander-Arnold in midfield against Andorra in 2021, Klopp argued that the England boss was misusing his right-back. "In this game, in a game where England are that dominant for example, or that we are that dominant that Trent could play in midfield, I would rather he was the six than in this case the eight," said Klopp.

"That is possible but why would you make the best right-back in the world a midfielder? I don't understand that really. As if the right-back position is not as important as the others. People who say that I struggle to understand how you could think that."

Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher tweeted that “Andros Townsend is going to want this apology from Klopp at half time!” following Alexander-Arnold’s impressive display in the opening 45 minutes, before going on to explain why the 24-year-old’s new role is going to become normalised.

“This midfield role for TAA will eventually become the norm for club & country!” Carragher added. “He creates plenty from full-back as he will in CM, but the goal he has just scored will happen a lot more in midfield. He could get double figures in goals & assists playing further forward.”

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