Moreno: Why Does He Split Opinion So Much?

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After another significant bottle job by this very fragile Liverpool team against Newcastle United, there is definitely reasons to be concerned about our defence. Once again from leading 2-0 at half time, this side managed to surrender by the full-time whistle, and one player seemed to have a game of two halves. Alberto Moreno summed up his season in this particular 90 minutes by not performing at the back but once again being a great outlet going forward. Moreno managed to bag himself two assists in the first half and took his tally to seven for the season, ironically above Coutinho in these rankings.

Moreno Why Does He Split Opinion So Much

It almost proves that the assist ranking should almost be forgotten in terms of proving how creative an individual is in a side. We all know that Coutinho is our most creative outlet but Moreno seems to have more assists so far. There is, of course, the chance to look at chances created too and Coutinho streaks ahead of Moreno in that column. But this is not a Moreno vs Coutinho piece, it is on why he splits opinion. Many believe that Liverpool should be targeting a left-back in the summer as Moreno is our only option there at the moment. It is a question of whether this left-back should replace Moreno in our first team or be a back-up.

The question is what are we looking for in a left-back? Are we looking for the kind of player who wants to overlap all of the time and actually has the end product to find a team mate?  Moreno is perfect for this kind of game. With Coutinho normally being played out from the left this kind of role is suited to Moreno’s game. The Brazilian tends to drift inside and looks to influence play through that route. With Moreno going on the overlap this has created a lot of problems for teams so far this season. Or, are we looking for somebody a little more defensively minded?

But this goes both ways, unfortunately. In that game against Borussia Dortmund, we saw what would happen if a team-mate fails to find him then we are left exposed. Coutinho was robbed by Dortmund and within seconds, they were up the other end and found themselves 2-0 up. If Moreno wasn’t so forward thinking then perhaps he would have been there to cover Coutinho and the counterattack would have been a non-starter. He has also found himself dominated by stronger players and is a massive liability from crosses too. His inability to be aware of his surroundings generally allows players to come from behind him and nip in front to get something on target. Even today when defending against Andros Townsend he seemed to struggle on whether to close him down. Townsend isn’t exactly Neymar so it should have been far easier for the Spaniard to deal with his threat. Joe Allen looked exhausted by half-time because he spent so much time covering for Moreno after Townsend skinned him again.

You would assume that Klopp would target a more well rounded left-back for next season to at least challenge Moreno. Against the smaller teams or when chasing a game Moreno is a really good option for us but because of his positivity, he leaves us open at the back. Mamadou Sakho often has to step out of his centre-back role to take out the winger and allow Moreno to fall back into defence. It is nothing to do with Moreno not trying to get back either, no Liverpool fan would doubt his work rate, it is the fact that he leaves himself with too much to do when tracking back. Klopp is no doubt encouraging Moreno to go forward but if he exercised a little more caution then there would be fewer goals conceded from his flank.

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  1. I think the key point is that “Klopp is no doubt encouraging Moreno to go forward.” We need the width on attack, and Moreno has the speed to close down opponents who are beyond the reach of slower fullbacks, despite the comments about Andros Townsend. We have seen this time and time again if Moreno’s performance is viewed from the “glass half-full” perspective. If Moreno’s positioning is tactical, then it makes no sense to criticize the player. However, few would dare to criticize Klopp and his tactics, so we criticize Moreno for failing to be in two places at once. (I would criticize neither in this period of transition from Rodgers’ squad.) Klopp needs time and transfer windows to build the side he wants, and players like Moreno need time to adapt to the squad and Klopp’s evolving demands. Bottom line: if Moreno is still playing, especially after the summer, then he is doing what Klopp is asking and shouldn’t be criticized for it. The real question is what we will do in the summer: will we add a defensive midfielder to provide more cover, or more width so that Moreno can focus on his defensive role? If the latter, and Moreno fails to thrive, then we can talk about replacing him.

  2. Agree with Robert here. If Moreno is told to attack as he does, then how can he be blamed for being out of position? If Moreno is instructed by Klopp to get up the pitch and support the attack, which the diamond formation that we played against Newcastle requires a fullback to give the attack width, then Klopp will have also instructed either a center mid to cover this area, or the defense to shift to the left slightly.

    Then, with those instructions, Moreno being up field shouldn’t leave a gaping hole. So, then somebody else is to blame for this. Could it be Stewart for not covering the left side better? Or could it be Kolo for not sliding over enough?

    It is foolish to blame Moreno for the second goal because he was up attacking with the team. To result to blaming a player for not making a 100+ yard sprint to block a cross or fill his defensive space is asinine. How many other Liverpool players could have made a shorter recover run to do the same as Moreno? It was 6 on 3 in favor of Liverpool when that counter started.

    As for the author pointing out Moreno supporting Coutinho a bit more for Dortmund’s second goal… Moreno was behind Coutinho when Phil played him the wayward pass, which set up the break. Not much to blame Alberto for then right?

    • The point is that Moreno’s natural inclination is to fly forward. Forget tactical instructions. I’m not blaming him for the Dortmund goal. What I am saying is that he will naturally overlap and sometimes we don’t need him to do that and it leaves us open. Not saying it is his fault. Just saying that is what we have to expect. So the option is to have a full back that is a little more balanced.

  3. I do think Moreno has green light to bomb forward from Klopp. Read somewhere about Klopp’s Dortmunt tactics and both full backs had a green light to bomb forward, usually one at the time though. Klopp tended to play his wingers “tight”, more as forwards right around the edge of the penalty area, so full back was needed as an outlet in the wide positions. It was on the defensive midfielders to provide cover while the full back was forward. I thought Can usually did a good job covering for him, others not so much.

    I would love for Klopp to give Moreno a chance to play as a winger in a cup game, see how he performs in a more advanced role. He’s a bungle of energy, so he wouldn’t slack on the press, would lessen his responsibility to track back, and it seems he’s been improving with his shooting, decent passer.

  4. Some great comments here. People ignorant of the modern game and tearing into Moreno for being ‘caught out of position’ get quite tedious after a while.
    Most top sides have one of their full-backs go forward when attacking to act as an old fashioned winger. One of the central defenders moves over to compensate and sometimes a DM will drop into to cover the central defender.
    Moreno is very quick, so he’s actually very good at getting back to cover but he obviously can’t get back every time.
    His real problem is mental focus. He can lose concentration and this is what he needs to work on. I’m confident he is improving in that area & will continue to do so.


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