Alberto Moreno: Will he be vindicated?

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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.

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  1. Moreno doesn’t cover goal side for the first goal.

    For the 2nd goal, also arguably at fault. Sees the run from deep but doesn’t close the gap on the goal scorer. In mitigation however, there were many more mistakes before that & perhaps he doesn’t close the gap as there is a run behind him.

    Moreno was also lucky not to get a second yellow. In addition twice in the second half he went steaming in when he should have held his position. Lucky not to be punished by Sevilla.

    In the last minute of stoppage time at the end of the game Liverpool are playing a high line & Moreno plays Muriel on side & he should score.

    The aforementioned demonstrates that far from redemption, Moreno remains a liability.

  2. Bill Wardale – The evidence against Hendo is compelling this season. Not sure where your of the cuff unsubstantiated statement comes from. Let’s begin:

    1. The second Watford goal, Henderson doesn’t close down Cleverly on the throw in and then goes walk about, not following the runner who crosses the ball.

    2. Henderson was generally poor in the Watford game. There was two examples during the game where there was space in front of him to drive in to, one instance being with the ball and the other without. On both occasions had he gone in to the gap, it would have disrupted Watford’s midfield shape.

    3. Against Hoffenheim away, Henderson as the number 6 failed to make the forward brave passes in this game, instead choosing to go backwards. The best way to beat the high press is to have a midfielder who is comfortable in possession and can see the forward pass to take out the oppositions strikers and midfield.

    5. Against Palace, the midfield of Henderson, Milner & Gini struggled to find the early passes in behind & therefore did not play to Firmino, Mane & Sturridge’s strengths, instead playing in to feet. Robertson with 3 chances created did more than Gini, Henderson & Milner put together.

    6. The 1st goal we conceded against Sevilla, the ball is headed away by Gomez. Can & Henderson too slow to get out of the box to Correa.

    7. The 2nd Sevilla goal, Can doesn’t cover the infield throw. However, even Henderson is not exempt from criticism. As the deepest lying midfielder, it’s his position really to pick up the runner as the throw in comes in.

    8. 2nd Leics goal in the league cup: Hendo takes too long on the ball. His passing options are cut off & he ends up conceding a throw in.

    From the thrown in, Hendo doesn’t retreat to close the throw to Okazaki who plays one two with Slimani, who scores. So, although it looks like Robertson’s fault, Robertson was forced to leave doubling up on the bigger/stronger threat Slimani in an attempt to close down Okazaki.

    9. In the 52nd min of the same game, Hendo shows lack of bravery by failing to drive in to space in front of him & drawing Leics players out. Instead he plays square.

    10. In the same match Hendo is easily nutmegged by Gray (not Messi) who goes on to shoot wide.


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