Alberto Moreno: Will he be vindicated?
Alberto Moreno’s endured a pretty gruelling time since becoming a Liverpool player in 2014. Arriving from Sevilla, the Spaniard joined as a very attack minded, promising left-back with pace to burn. His defensive abilities, however, have always come under scrutiny. Take a look back at the 2016 Europa League final against his former-club Sevilla for example, with the left-back’s error filled performance at the heart of Liverpool’s second-half capitulation.
Caught out of position, Moreno left a gaping hole down the left, exposing his teammates and allowing Sevilla to record yet another successful season in the Europa League. It wasn’t just a one-off either. This was a constant frustration within the Spaniard’s game, with his desire to burst forward leaving all kinds of problems at the other end of the pitch.
In the time since, Moreno has been resigned to a bit-part role for The Reds, with James Milner preferred at the back having been seen as a more reliable alternative to an already shaky back-four. With less than 300 minutes of Premier League action last season, it seemed for all the world that the Spaniard was on his way out of Anfield this summer.
“The lowest point came at the start of last season when I was not playing. I was training hard and well and then the manager decided James Milner would be left-back. I was not happy.” – Alberto Moreno
Yet, having been gifted a second chance after remaining on Merseyside, Moreno appears to have begun his road to redemption. Faced against his former club in the Champions League last week, the 25-year-old showed much greater concentration in his defensive duties, while displaying his usual determination and flair going forward.
484 days apart, Moreno’s performances against Sevilla went from downright disastrous to terrific. The worst player and then one of the best, he contributed at both ends, adding an extra dimension in the final third with a string of dangerous attacking overlaps to help Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino’s influence proceedings.
Of course, it wasn’t a full proof performance from the left-back, but there were clear indications of progression – a very welcome sight for Liverpool fans. Both he and Andy Robertson have showcased their prowess in the attacking third of the pitch, delivering threatening balls into the six-yard box that beg for contact from a teammate, while the duo also share some defensive mishaps.
“In life and in football, I am a fighter. I never give up and when you are down you have to use that motivation to work harder. To be honest, when we signed Andy Robertson it gave me more strength and made me focus even more.” – Moreno
The Scotsman’s arrival certainly seems to have spurred Moreno on, with the 25-year-old realising he must step it up if he wants to be a success under Klopp. Now, he’s set to play an important role in a rigorous season for Liverpool – something you’d have thought was near on impossible a month or so ago.
Far less lambasted for his performances now, Moreno could slowly be beginning to redeem himself after a turbulent spell at Liverpool. If he can repeat the kind of performance he put in against Sevilla last Wednesday there’s no reason he can’t salvage his career at Liverpool in a thoroughly exciting, if not off form, Klopp team.
That being said, there’s still a long way to go.