Why Clyne should look elsewhere if he has to play regular first-team football
Nathaniel Clyne arrived at Liverpool back in 2015 for £12m with an intention to take over the right-back slot at Anfield from Glen Johnson. In his first two seasons, the Englishman did what was expected of him – to provide consistent performances over a period of games and not just in blips.
By the 2016/17 season, it was clear that even Jurgen Klopp rated the 27-year-old, who was expected to be the clubs’ first-choice right-back for future adventures. However, as it turned out, Clyne got a back injury in the summer of 2017. This is where the tide turned, not just a bit, but in a massive way.
Here’s why Clyne isn’t a go-to player at Anfield anymore:
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s form
Since the start of last season, youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold hasn’t looked back after being given the starting role. The Englishman scored a wonderful long-range free-kick in the Champions League qualifier against TSG Hoffenheim last season to stake his claim as an all-around full-back.
The highlight of last season was Arnold getting a lot of stick for his wrong defensive positioning against Marcus Rashford in a vital away game versus Manchester United.
However, the youngster responded by keeping Leroy Sane in his pocket for the whole of the Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City. This explains his determination to right the wrongs and stay as the number one right-back for Liverpool.
Clyne must get lucky to reclaim his spot
The preference of Klopp was fairly evident when Clyne, despite taking part in the whole pre-season, didn’t start the first two league games. It was Alexander-Arnold, who arrived late after the World Cup journey, began both the games. This is where we can clearly see why the former Southampton full-back should consider his future.
Bearing in mind that Liverpool have Fabinho, who can play as a right-back when required, indicates that if Clyne wants regular first-team football, he may have to exit the Anfield shores. The other option is he has to do really well in training to catch Klopp’s eye.
Nathaniel Clyne is still one of the top full-backs in English football, who got unlucky due to unavoidable circumstances. Credit goes to Alexander-Arnold for taking his opportunity and now making the former to really sweat for his playing opportunities.
So, in this case, there are two things to ponder. Firstly, it’s a question of whether the player is happy to play a second-fiddle role at the club. Secondly, whether the role suits him or not. Given that he is only 27, Clyne should look to play regular football, which might not come for him at Liverpool. Hence, there is a case for the full-back to look options elsewhere.