Why An Andy Robertson Upgrade Is Still Needed

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Should Andy Robertson Be Moved On…?

Since the signing of Scotland’s current international captain, there is little doubt that until recently, he was an elite level left-back who was rightly regarded as one of the world’s best in his position. The signing of Hull City’s relegated fullback (in the summer of 2017) was an underwhelming piece of business that saw the reds send Kevin Stewart in the opposite direction. That £8m deal (for each player) made the transaction a virtual swap deal and goes down as perhaps the finest piece of business within the Michael Edwards era. It did not take long for any questions over the former Dundee United player to dissolve, as once he replaced the popular Alberto Moreno in the first team, he did not look back. For the near duration of the 29-year-olds Anfield stay, Liverpool’s left-hand side of the pitch has been a superb example of how to coordinate control of a flank. From Virgil at LCB, to Gini at LCM, before Sadio Mané at LF, it was a line of players that made the 64-cap Scot an overlapping force who did not have to fret too much with left-hand any defensive shenanigans. As you can see from the link below, everything was just about perfect.

Without the gigantic efforts of the Brazilian above, the reds would have dropped into the bottom half of the table, alongside their Premier League rivals, Chelsea. The fabled structure of Klopp’s once impenetrable system suddenly looked old and tired, with so many parts failing under even the smallest amount of pressure. Some degree of order was restored at the back end of that disheartening campaign, which saw an on-ball 3-4-3 system deployed, one which would bring the best out of one of our famous fullbacks, yet perhaps undermine the other.

Should Andy Robertson Be Moved On…?

Quite simply, no. Amid so many senior players departing the club (this year) and the need for some continuing stability within the squad, our much-loved number 3 can still play a solid role in what could become a full transitional season. This Liverpool side is going to have games where new and younger elements become overawed or produce bad runs of form. The sensational incoming transfers of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, will probably be followed this week by the arrival of Southampton’s teen titan, Roméo Lavia. I fully expect another versatile midfield man to follow the Saints star man through the door, before one final piece of business comes to the fore. Though Andy Robertson has a fair shout of taking a seat at the new Liverpool leadership table, it will likely be behind that of his new skipper, Virgil van Dijk, as well as whichever vice-captain is chosen by the manager. Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker appear in the frame for that specific role, whereas Trent Alexander Arnold could become a surprise name for what was once a table set for four.

With a Continued Stay More likely, What Should Be the Scot’s Role…?

What I see in Robbo, is a player that will do whatever it takes to extend his Liverpool stay and retire as a legendary player who won it all. What he will have to except at some point soon, is a role that sees him gradually demoted to back up. I sense that final piece of substantial business this summer, will see Jörg Schmadtke land a specialist left sided defender, who can operate as a left back when the system shifts require it, but predominantly be a forceful left sided version of Ibou. I am keen to see our infectious senior left back accept a lessoning role in the elite first eleven, where he could even lead a second string eleven through the Europa League campaign. this scenario, however, could then see Kostas Tsimikas moved on.

If Kostas Were to Be Moved On, Who Are the Viable Upgrades Right Now…?

There has been very little talk of the popular Greek left back leaving the club, though you would expect if another left sided defender were signed (that would push him further down the pecking order), then conversations would likely have to take place. Both Newcastle and West Ham could offer good starting destinations for the 27-year-old, who would probably command a fee of £20m in this inflated market. With that, the list of replacements become refined in order to create a more sustainable defensive shape. The recruitment of two holding midfielders will aid in restricting counter attacking opportunities through the middle of the pitch, whereas the formations backline must see one starting level player arrive, with a plethora of options laid out below.

I believe that a deal for Levi Colwill is something that could still happen, though may become an affair which stretched to the final days of this transfer window. In the aftermath of Chelsea losing Wesley Fofana to a serious ACL injury, they immediately addressed that issue with the signing of Monaco’s impressive central defender, Axel Disasi. The situation at Stamford Bridge is an ever-evolving entity, so it will be interesting to see how that situation plays out, and whether Mauricio Pochettino will want to keep a young player looking for a way out. Other significant names are Castello Lukeba, Gonçalo Inácio, and Micky van de Ven. All those listed targets have one thing in common, in that each is a strong and definitive defensive presence (first and foremost), which Andy Robertson is not.

Which One Player Ticks All the Boxes…?

For me personally, it is Joško Gvardiol. The powerhouse Croatian international is sensational and would be the most perfect (and most difficult) signing any red could ever imagine. There are rumblings of his move to Manchester City falling by the wayside, therefore, I hope our recruitment team are keeping tabs with a club with whom we hold a strong relationship.

Having made 267 appearances for Liverpool, I would love our 5ft 10inch Scot to stay on and add experience and depth to what is to come next season and beyond. This regeneration is for real and may be something our senior players will have to get on board with. If the last few months are proof of anything, it is that absolutely nothing is certain at Anfield right now and I am all for that level of change.

Steven Smith

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1 COMMENT

  1. an upgrade on Robertson is a contradiction in terms. There is no upgrade on the best. Are you just writing anything to keep yourself busy ?

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