Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has expressed his views on racism in football, calling for teams and fans to be punished more harshly if found guilty.
Speaking with Sky Sports, the England international reacted to the abuse hurled towards former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter Milan.
He said: “Obviously I think the Italian FA had their reasons for not punishing [Cagliari] but I think every team should be punished. Every team’s fans should be punished for those sorts of actions.”
Racism has been a hot topic among football in recent weeks, so too the use of social media and it’s role in abuse. Fellow Liverpool full-back Andrew Robertson has reportedly been subject to online abuse after conceding a controversial penalty against Napoli, in the Champions League.
Robertson – Scotland’s international captain – has deactivated his Twitter account due to such matters. Trent also gave his thoughts on his teammate, stating: “He’s mentally a really strong character, so I’m sure whatever reason he had for doing that was the best for him.”
The pair will be looking put outside influences to the side as Liverpool look to bounce back from a rare defeat at the hands of Napoli in midweek. On Sunday, the Reds will travel to London for a repeat of the UEFA Super Cup final, facing Frank Lampard’s youthful side at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were also shocked in the Champions League, dropping three valuable European points at home to Valencia. It’s a defeat which may have came at a good time for Liverpool, with a Chelsea side building some momentum thrown a curveball. It will be a test of Lampard’s management skills seeing if he can inspire his players to bounce back quickly.
Since taking charge at the his former side the 41-year-old has adopted a policy centred around their plethora of youth players. In their previous Premier League outing the Blues dismantled Wolves, outclassing them to win 5-2. It was a game which emphasised Lampard’s approach with younger players – all five goals were scored by a player eligible to play for England’s U21 side.
Both clubs will be hoping to react from a poor result in Europe and regain momentum. The Reds in particular will be eager to get maximum points and capitalise on what could be a tricky period for title rivals Manchester City. The Citizens are facing a defensive crisis, with Nicolás Otamendi the only fit central defender in the first team.
Meanwhile, Chelsea could be without Mason Mount on Sunday. The English youngster has begun his first Premier League season in fine form, but was substituted on Tuesday following a nasty challenge by Francis Coquelin. Lampard said on Friday that he will face a late fitness test.