Alberto Moreno: Liverpool’s equivalent to Calamity Jane
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on August 16, 2016
After what proved to be a quite bizarre game of football on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium, Liverpool came out as 4-3 winners over Arsenal in an affair which focused more perhaps on the defensive frailties of both sides rather than the quality of football on show. At times Liverpool were mesmerising going forward, with Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings as Liverpool orchestrated a victory. All seems well at Anfield with Jurgen Klopp at the helm, apart from one issue. It’s an issue that was apparent to many before today, but this performance is a simple confirmation. Liverpool need a left back more than any other club needs any other position in the league.
Don’t get me wrong here, I quite like Alberto Moreno. He gives 100 per cent every single time he puts the Liverpool shirt on and plays with immense amounts of passion and pride. He’s also very effective going forward and is blessed with absolutely blistering pace, but there is one aspect of the beautiful game that the Spaniard has failed to grasp. The art of defending. Never in my years of watching this sport have I seen a player seem so out of his depth, for that whole 90 minutes against Arsenal on Sunday he was in the correct position a grand total of zero times.
Let’s start with the penalty he gave away. This was not only down to his lack of positional awareness but also his lack of brain cells. Why he is diving in for a challenge like that when Theo Walcott is going absolutely nowhere other than the corner flag is beyond me. There is no danger whatsoever but Moreno takes it upon himself to create danger for the team by lunging into a wayward challenge he was never going to win. That was bad enough but when he was spared of his blushes by Simon Mignolet’s brilliant penalty save he decided to grant Walcott with a second opportunity. This time Moreno wandered up the pitch and became a winger filling in for the drifting Coutinho which was all well and good until he realised Liverpool were 30 yards from their own goal. Lallana lost it and Moreno was nowhere. Walcott, unmarked, 1-0 Arsenal. The whole defensive shape of the side looked great apart from the care free Spaniard who clearly had Walcott as his first goalscorer on enhanced odds.
This sort of performance isn’t new for Liverpool fans. On his debut he completely sliced a clearance in his own box and gifted Stevan Jovetic with a goal which turned out to be crucial to the way that game went. As well as this he was the culprit of poor positional play in a huge showdown with Manchester United at Anfield in early 2015. Juan Mata exposed this blatant weakness in the Liverpool side and scored both goals in a 2-1 victory which eventually gifted United the 4th and final Champions League spot at Liverpool’s expense. Then we move onto the 2015/16 season, where he was the main scapegoat in two cup finals as Liverpool fell short in both.
The Capital One Cup Final at Wembley against Manchester City was Jurgen Klopp’s first chance at silverware and he approached the game full of optimism having masterminded a 4-1 victory away at the Etihad Stadium against the same opposition a few months before. From the first whistle Moreno was all over the place, he seemed so desperate to be a hero that he instead played the villain role, being caught too high up the pitch and leaving the left back area exposed and allowing Fernandinho to score an opener. Bang, one major final he made a calamitous error in.
Perhaps the biggest game Liverpool have played in Europe since heartbreak in Athens in the 2007 Champions League Final. The 2016 UEFA Europa League final took place in Basel between Liverpool and back to back champions Sevilla, Liverpool were named as favourites given the names they had toppled to get to this stage. It was all going to plan when Daniel Sturridge scored a fantastic curling effort and put Liverpool 1-0 up going into half time. 45 minutes from glory. The second half kicked off and a long diagonal was played by Sevilla, it was only going to one area and that was the area of turf Alberto Moreno was defending. He jumped and completely missed the ball, left Mariano alone to square it and Gameiro scored. Two more goals followed and Liverpool were beaten in another final.
One brainless error of judgement is acceptable, but this is a regular occurrence and it pains me to speak so poorly of a Liverpool player but he is a walking liability. The fact that Jurgen Klopp has persisted with him amazes me, especially considering the decision to loan out Jon Flanagan, a player who may not have as much to offer going forwards but sure knows how to defend. A left back who can do both attacking and defending aspects of the game at a high level is difficult to come by these days I’ll accept that, but there are options for Liverpool to approach, surely Klopp will attempt to sign Jonas Hector from Koln? Or Ricardo Rodriguez from Wolfsburg? Or even Jose Gaya from Valencia? All names who would strengthen that position hugely and really send a statement of intent to their rivals.
So Jurgen, transfer committee, anyone, sign a left back, please.