Dave Davis takes a look at Alberto Moreno’s season with Liverpool and how it impacts his future with the club.
It’s not often that a player starts the season as potentially the least popular member of the squad with the fan base and is still there come the end of the season. For Alberto Moreno, it’s been nothing short of a disaster despite Liverpool finishing in a Champions League position. In the coming months, both parties will no doubt be looking to part ways as quickly and amicably as possible.
The biggest surprise for many is that you have to remind them that Moreno started the opening game against Arsenal and played the full ninety minutes. Few had forgiven the Spaniard for his performance in the Europa League final and one of last summer’s biggest shocks was Jürgen Klopp not bringing in a full-back. Perhaps it was telling that the three goals shipped at the Emirates with the 24-year-old starting was our second worse defensive performance of the season.
The highlights for Moreno of which there are few to mention were the three games where he played the full ninety in the EFL Cup as Liverpool reached the semi-finals. The former Sevilla man didn’t manage to get on the pitch though in either of the two legs against Southampton. An assist in the 4-2 away victory at Cyrstal Palace was the only decisive contribution in the Premier League as again Liverpool looked suspect at the back with Moreno starting.
It’s hard to analyse Moreno without intertwining the season that James Milner had. Even objectively though, there are simple points that can be made. A player who had never played there didn’t want to play there and had a far greater impact than a player once predicted as a future Spanish international. Even when the former City man looked tired and suffered a loss of form, Klopp was still reluctant to turn to the £12 million Spaniard.
A total of 18 matches sounds limited at best and 835 minutes played are the stats expected of a youngster breaking through into the first team. Tellingly, the most commonly linked replacements in recent times have been Andrew Robertson and Ryan Sessegnon. The latter has just turned 17 years old and for all his potential hasn’t played at the highest level. If that’s not a clear enough signal for Moreno then nothing ever will be.
The one impact that it will be hard to gauge is how his and others’ potential departures could affect the existing stars. Off the pitch, it appears that Moreno enjoys a close friendship with the Brazilians in the squad. With Lucas also rumoured to be departing, the impact on Firmino and Coutinho will hopefully be negligible.
Similar to Jose Enrique, social media has been the field where the player seems to be most noted with many. Maybe if working on his defending seemed as big a priority as Instagram then things could have been different. Liverpool and Moreno seem destined to part company though and don’t be surprised if it’s the last we’ve seen of him in England. 16/17 was a season to forget for him.