I’m not sure how it feels to every other Liverpool supporter, but it seems like forever since a left back graced Anfield who doesn’t strike fear into me every time he is picked.
Since our beloved John Arne Riise left, the reds have witnessed a half decent season by Aurelio, a couple of mediocre seasons from Enrique, and obviously we can’t forget the ever lovable, née laughable, Aly Cissokho. Even Jon Flanagan’s exciting spell was short-lived due to injury.
When Alberto Moreno finally arrived from Sevilla and scored in the 4-0 win vs Spurs; finally, the horror was over.
Well, not quite. Moreno went on to show us that actually, while he was quick and valuable in the counter attack, he was also crap at defending, an attribute which is generally quite unfortunate for a defender.
Dropped last season for midfielder James Milner, Moreno complained of his annoyance at the situation despite Milner’s professional displays, and most were certain the Spaniard would be shown the door in the summer. Our dreams were half answered.
Klopp had made the decision finally to replace the under-performers and signed somebody. Klopp, the saviour; found Liverpool the marauding, pacy, skilful, intelligent, crossing, assisting left back we had been waiting for. And his name was… Alberto Moreno. Oh.
Alberto’s been a different player this year and has reinvigorated a dying Liverpool career, barring two games true to previous form against Tottenham and Sevilla. His performances in some games have been noted by many, particularly in the champions league, where Moreno has already recorded 3 assists.
That said, and as explained previously on this site, the Reds are no longer stuck for squad depth, as very able deputy Andrew Robertson has proven on multiple occasions. The former Hull man has settled well, particularly considering his long absence from the side through October and November.
In his premier league debut vs Crystal Palace, a genuine wing back performance was evident as the Scot showed verve and grace on the ball, intelligent running, and fine crossing throughout.
A man of the match display was coupled with praise from Jurgen himself who stated, “Everybody can now see how good Robbo – with a few more sessions – can be, especially in offensive situations. His crosses are a real threat.”
Despite his 2 successful crosses, 3 Key passes, and 4 successful defensive contributions in that game, few chances have come Robertson’s way since, and why this is can only really be answered by the manager himself.
Statistics continue to show his quality as he is ahead of Moreno (per 90 minutes) this season in terms of key passes, chances created, interceptions, and pass completion percentage.
The general chat amongst many has been that Robertson, much like Moreno, will be fine getting forwards but suspect at the back. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I’m yet to see Robertson culpable for any of the types of defensive errors which have littered Liverpool’s back 4 over recent seasons.
Also, an eye-watering statistic; with Robertson in the lineup, the team lets in on average almost 1 goal less per game than without. Despite the sample size being small, that really is quite the difference.
Though cheering a teammate’s misfortune is unlikely, Robertson is likely happy to be getting his opportunity now, since Moreno’s injury vs Spartak. The excellence of that Crystal Palace debut has not since been reached, but consistent and solid displays in Liverpool’s usually shaky defence will keep the Kop happy.
Whether he is considered as a long term back up or a contender to the future full back throne, there is no longer the same scared feeling whenever the opposition’s right side gets the ball.
Maybe it’s the potential competition from Robertson which has spurred Alberto on this season, or maybe he’s just been having us on for the last 2 years, but either way, if Liverpool play with 1st or 2nd choice left back, the fear is no longer there.
Alberto Moreno may have had a fine start; but his replacement, in Andrew Robertson, is more than able.