Joe Cole insists the absence of Jordan Henderson is seriously damaging Trent Alexander-Arnold’s levels at Liverpool, speaking on BT Sport.
Henderson hasn’t featured for the Reds since suffering a groin injury against Everton in February.
Liverpool’s captain underwent surgery shortly after, with no confirmed date for his return.
In the seven matches he’s missed so far, Jurgen Klopp’s side have won four and lost three.
The latest of those defeats came on Tuesday night at the hands of Real Madrid.
A 3-1 Champions League loss in Spain quickly clouded the Reds previous positive result away to Arsenal in the Premier League.
Alexander-Arnold in the spotlight
Alexander-Arnold was significant in both matches, for good and bad.
He shone during the 3-0 win at the Emirates at the weekend but had a disaster against Madrid three days later.
His performance came under scrutiny again, having gifted the La Liga champions their second goal with a misplaced header.
Trent misses his skipper
And former Liverpool midfielder Cole believes the 22-year-old’s drop in form can be merited to being without his skipper and England teammate, Henderson.
Cole said: “I think (Alexander-Arnold) has missed Henderson massively.
“You underestimate the job Henderson does with his legs, where he’s got that ability (to fill in).
“It means Trent isn’t second-guessing when he’s going forward.
“Now he’s worried about whether he can go or not. That split second of doubt puts him in an uncomfortable position.”
Southgate leaves out Liverpool lad
It has been a rocky road for Alexander-Arnold during Henderson’s time on the treatment table.
Ups such as the Arsenal game have come with major downs like the Madrid match.
To make matters worse, Gareth Southgate left the right-back out of his latest England World Cup qualifying squad.
That will be a danger sign for a player who hopes to be part of the Three Lions’ European Championship camp this summer.
As it stands, Alexander-Arnold may have to start thinking of holiday plans for July.
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