From two Premier League starts in the last campaign to the most consistent Liverpool defender, Alberto Moreno’s unlikely resurrection has been one of the biggest positives for the Reds this season.
Not many entertained the fact of him staying beyond the summer, the signing of Hull City’s Scottish international left-back Andy Robertson further made the Spaniard’s exit look inevitable. However, the 25-year-old refused to concede that his Liverpool dream was over as he opted to stay at Anfield with the hope of turning around his career.
“It’s true there were a lot offers at the end of the season but my intention was always to stay at Liverpool. Klopp was very honest. He couldn’t promise me anything and told me that they were going to sign a new left-back [Robertson]. But I wanted to play for Liverpool. It’s a great club and I could see myself playing here”. Moreno said in an interview.
Early life in Anfield
Moreno had an exciting start to his Liverpool career, with his attacking ability showing off more than his defensive ones. His highlight came in the 3-0 triumph at White Hart Lane against Tottenham when he scored a sensational solo goal after robbing Andros Townsend of the ball in his own half and driving forward decisively with pace before delivering a cracking finish past Hugo Lloris.
Things started to fall apart for the 25-year-old in the latter half of the 2014 season. Charged with a more defensive role than perhaps he was used to, Moreno’s form took a dip.
Moreno’s Liverpool career hit the rock bottom in the 3-1 defeat in Europa League final against his former club Sevilla. His horror show in the final 45 minutes burned deep into the fans memories. Seen as a liability, criticised for being “brainless” and “reckless” by the fans and pundits alike, it already seemed like an end of the road for a comeback.
With a new season in hand, Moreno put his full-hearted effort on show in preseason. Jurgen Klopp saw something in the Spaniard. It was enough for the German to make up his mind. Moreno repaid the faith with an excellent display against Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup as the fans were left pleasantly surprised. A splendid preseason was followed by a string of good performances in the Premier League.
“It was a really good game from Alberto, that’s why we kept him on, because every second he was playing better, he was more present. He’s really fit but he’s had a little problem with his thigh since the day before yesterday. But we had a test with him this morning and he really played well. The players decide themselves how many games they play”. Klopp after the 3-0 win against the Bundesliga giant.
While Liverpool’s defense hasn’t shown any improvements since the last season, Moreno has been the least blameless of all defenders. The fullback manages an impressive 2.7 tackles with 0.8 interceptions per game this season. Getting forward has always been his strength, however, he appears to have new found defensive awareness and concentration.
Moreno has always been an offensive left-back.. His attacking performances in Champions league has been notable as the Spaniard sits on the top of the assist table with three assists in four games. His link-up play with Mane and Coutinho is a key element in Liverpool’s attacking moves. With his overlapping runs and quick passes, the reds have produced some scintillating attacking play from the left side.
His impressive form was rewarded by Spain last week after he was named in the Spain squad for the upcoming friendlies against Russia and Costa Rica.
“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,” Moreno said in an interview with Chris Bascombe.
Moreno has the determination and the will to fight. Although Moreno is still far from perfect, his resurgence has been extraordinary and deserves credit for the same. What’s important for Liverpool’s number 18 is to continue performing consistently in the coming weeks to help the Reds achieve their targets.