Liverpool’s Left Back Quandary
Posted by Craig Muncey | Published on March 31, 2016
One of the areas that Liverpool may wish to upgrade on for next season is the left back position which predominantly this season been filled by Spaniard Alberto Moreno, this article looks at options available to Jurgen Klopp.
Moreno was bought from Sevilla for £12 million in 2014, and from what I have seen of the player at Sevilla, I had high hopes. Moreno looked very comfortable in possession, nice left foot and very quick on his feet, in his style I saw similarities to Barcelona and Spanish International Jordi Alba, however Moreno has struggled this season especially defensively and has not reached those levels of expectations.
Start of season, Liverpool had Joe Gomez playing at left back, a position completely foreign to the youngster, but with his footballing ability and temperament he looked perfectly at home in that position, however, unfortunately for him and the club he succumbed to injury and will not be back in a Liverpool shirt till next season.
Other options Liverpool currently have is Jose Enrique, who earned a move to the club by looking one of the best left backs in the league when playing for Newcastle United, however, Enrique looks in recent years completely disinterested in playing football on a regular basis which is a real shame. Liverpool also have a young left back Brad Smith, who in limited appearances he has made, looks a player who I can see Jurgen Klopp wanting to work with, has ability is a bit raw, but seems keen to learn and there is a potential there that you can clearly see.
Liverpool could potentially use Jon Flanagan or Nathaniel Clyne who are right backs, to cover over on the left side, to pick up this weakness however in my view that just paints over the issue and is not a long term solution.
The way Liverpool play width is an issue, so currently full backs Clyne and Moreno do give the team that option, they both are good in possession and can cause problems for the opposition in the final third, and when they do push on it makes the pitch wider, taking up oppositions interests so more space for Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana etc, to use their technical skills to cause problems for the opposition. However Klopp has said he wants his full backs to be predominantly good defenders, and with Moreno there is a problem, he gets caught out of position far too many times, he is slow to react to potential problems happening in front of him, plus he makes many rash tackles through the season already, just look at the penalty he conceded against Norwich this season as an example.
Liverpool have been linked with potential left back signings such as Ben Chilwell of Leicester City, Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United and Jonas Hector of FC Cologne. In terms of Chilwell he is a young untried player, and one for the future, Cresswell and Hector are both upgrades on what Liverpool have currently. Cresswell I can see costing quite a bit of money, he is playing in the Premier League and is English. Hector I think makes most sense, he is a German International, is good in possession, is a good size for a defender at six foot one inches tall and can defend, so takes many boxes, plus is only 25 years of age, so plenty of good years in front of him, so a good investment.
I can see Moreno and Enrique leaving this summer, leaving Liverpool with currently Smith and Gomez as the left backs and option to use Flanagan and/or Clyne as cover. I believe Liverpool do need to recruit another player to play at left back and from current names mentioned I would look to buy Jonas Hector for around £12 million, which would be good value for money.