Rio Ferdinand has revealed he is 'maddened' by Trent Alexander-Arnold, while claiming that the Liverpool vice captain is 'passive' in defending.
Alexander-Arnold was at the centre of attention for the Reds' 1-1 draw with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The right back put in an all-action performance, culminating in his second-half equaliser.
Despite his impressive attacking contribution, the number 66 still drew some criticism for his defensive display – particularly in relation to the buildup to City's goal.
After the game Sky Sports pundit and former right back Gary Neville claimed Alexander-Arnold could yet become the best of all time in his position, if he can work on his solidity as part of Liverpool's backline.
He said: “All he has to be as a defender is sort of semi-competent, he doesn’t have to be the best right-back in the world defensively. You don’t expect him to be [Cesar] Azpilicueta, who was the opposite, in terms of being a defensive right-back, [Branislav] Ivanovic or a Kyle Walker. He doesn’t have to be that. What he does have to be is not a liability and there have been times in the last three or four years where that has been a standout feature of Liverpool’s big games, where he’s been too easy to beat and too easy to get at.
“He’s got the material to be the very best right-back of all time. But he’s going to have to be a little bit more serious about his defending because he is currently struggling to get into the England team - or he has struggled. He will need to - when Liverpool and England are under the cosh - be able to be a resilient, tough defensive player as well.
“That’s something I think he can add to his game. I don’t give up on the fact that he can be a very good defender. I think defending is not that difficult to learn compared to the bit of his game that he has got.”
Meanwhile, Neville's former Manchester United teammate Ferdinand has claimed that the Liverpool star lacks 'intensity'. However, Ferdinand insists Alexander-Arnold is capable of good one-on-one defending.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “I just look at him and think, on the ball he does things that we’ve rarely seen from a full-back with the ball. His passing, his range over varying distances, he can give it to you how you want it, curl it, drill it, the lot. Just have that same intensity defensively.
“This is the thing that maddens me. I’ve seen him do it. I always go back to the game when [Leroy] Sane at [Manchester] City was on fire. He comes to Anfield, Trent locks him down one-v-one. Doesn’t go by him.
“Even the goal the other day against City, he scores, but I look at their goal and think he should’ve done a lot better in that position against [Nathan] Ake.
“I just don’t understand it. It just looks like there’s a passiveness to when he has to defend. There’s no intensity.
“Even when he goes in to engage a winger, I don’t see that soft bending of the knees ready to accelerate and explode, ready for a one-v-one. He goes in like he’s forgotten about the fundamentals of defending in one-v-one situations.”