Alberto Moreno Out in the Summer?
Seeing the name Alberto Moreno on the teamsheet nowadays brings about the same response. A groan and an almost cynical anticipation of defeat or at least that’s what social media will have you believe. The fact we are blessed with Andy Robertson in that position may just highlight deficiencies that may have been there with previous left backs but harder to evidence with the alternative options at the time. Alberto Moreno was brought in to the side in 2014 from Sevilla in the summer following Liverpool’s dramatic title challenge where they eventually succumbed to Manchester City. He became the 2nd Spaniard to join the club in a week following Javi Manquillo’s arrival and he would be intending to push Jose Enrique towards a more permanent fixture on the bench.
He showed early promise with his marauding runs down the left and a wonderful solo goal at White Hart Lane earning comparisons to John Arne Riise with the goal drawing some similarities to one the Norwegian scored at Goodison Park early on in his Liverpool career. With 91 appearances in his first 2 campaigns which had also seen the change in manager from Brendan Rodgers to Jurgen Klopp, on paper it seemed bizarre to think that he would soon be losing his place to a midfielder for the majority of the next season, but events on the 18th May 2016 would change his Liverpool career and all the defensive frailties that came with somebody who posed such an attacking threat were to be seen. Before that happened, Moreno thought he had scored in a league cup thrashing of Southampton at St Mary’s in December 2015 only to see Divock Origi’s slight touch taking the goal to the Belgian.
Defeat to Moreno’s former side Sevilla was hard to take but attention was immediately focused on the Spaniard. The equaliser from Sevilla came from a move started by a wayward header from Moreno who was then tied up in knots by Mariano who put it on a plate for Gameiro to score. The 3rd goal that put the stamp on the result again had fingers being pointed at Moreno as he was slow to get back to defend before missing what was a possible chance to clear the ball before Koke scored, although there were suspicions of offside.
The start of the 2016-2017 season saw Alberto Moreno starting the season opener at the Emirates where he conceded a penalty for a foul on Theo Walcott although Simon Mignolet saved some of his blushes by saving the spot kick but just moments later Walcott was celebrating after profiting from poor positioning again by Moreno. For the next league game at Turf Moor, the team sheet had Moreno on the bench, something he would become accustomed to, starting just 11 more leagues games, with vice captain James Milner filling in quite comfortably.
As that season concluded with Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League, there were whispers that Moreno’s introduction just minutes from the end of that 3-0 win over Middlesbrough was his farewell to the club. It was to be was a defining summer once again in his career. As relegated Hull City allowed their promising defender Andrew Robertson head to Anfield for £8m, Moreno’s position now had another natural challenger in addition to Milner.
Jurgen Klopp however gave Moreno a chance to earn that spot permanently, opting to start him ahead of his new signing and predominantly keeping that as the case until an injury nightmare for Moreno that would almost certainly prove to be the final nail in his time in a Liverpool shirt. In the final Champions League group stage match against Spartak Moscow, Moreno suffered an ankle injury in the first half and in the subsequent press conference, it was confirmed he would be missing from action for around 6 weeks and following that, he found it hard to displace Andy Robertson. In the current season, he has made 5 appearances, 4 starts including cup defeats to Chelsea and Wolves as well as Premier League victories over Cardiff and Burnley. He came off the bench in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade at Anfield. Whether he will make a first team appearance again is to be seen but with a raft of comments in media outlets attributed to the defender over his future and his perception of his treatment by Klopp, it seems evidently clear that his future will be at another club, possibly back in his native Spain.