Alberto Moreno: Liverpool’s key summer signing
Liverpool surpassed all expectations and predictions last season as they narrowly missed out on winning their first league title in 24 years, partly because the Reds superb and highly praised attacking displays were not helped with regular defensive frailties which ultimately cost them.
Brendan Rogers immediately identified that the full-back positions needed strengthening and wasted no time in bringing in new faces, with left back Alberto Moreno joining from Sevilla and right back Javi Manquillo making a two season loan move from Atletico Madrid.
It was no secret to anyone that Spanish international Alberto Moreno was a transfer target for Brendan Rogers for the entirety of the summer window, but the 22-year-old finally signed from Sevilla for a fee of £12m just over two weeks before deadline day to become Liverpool’s eighth summer signing. Before making his decision to join the club, Moreno admitted to speaking with former Liverpool players and fellow Spaniards Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa before making an emotional switch from Sevilla to Anfield.
When Jose Enrique suffered a long-term injury in November that kept him out of action for the remainder of the season, Liverpool were forced to dip into the market and brought in Aly Cissokho on loan, but the Frenchman failed to impress early on with multiple nervy and unconvincing performances. Cissokho was consequently dropped and Jon Flanagan filled the void despite being a natural right back, but nevertheless excelled in that position. Even with some competent displays at left back, Liverpool’s defence remained shaky throughout the season.
The likes of Balotelli and Lallana are great acquisitions for the club, particularly Balotelli and the relatively small fee to acquire his services, but in my opinion Moreno is the best out of all the summer signings, as he fits the mould that was left bare and deficient at times last season. Liverpool now have depth on their left side, with fellow new boy Lazar Markovic, Sterling, Lallana and Coutinho all capable of playing in attacking positions on the left flank, and Enrique, Flanagan and even Glen Johnson able to cover the left back position.
Stats – 2013/14
Club – Sevilla
La Liga appearances – 29
Goals – 3
Shot accuracy – 29%
Chances created – 19
Average pass accuracy – 79%
Yellow cards – 5
Red card(s) – 1
Moreno’s pace and willingness to attack makes him the perfect modern day fullback, but his composure on the ball, positional play and alertness make him a welcome addition to Liverpool’s defence. His power and pace were clearly evident when he scored his first goal for the club in just his second start against Spurs, bursting down the left hand side from just inside his own half and firing a fine shot into the bottom corner for a fabulous solo goal.
As shown in the stats above, Moreno’s passing accuracy is fairly impressive, but that figure has significantly improved in his first two games with 89% pass accuracy against Manchester City, 87% against Spurs and 90% against Villa, already highlighting that he’s settled in well in his new surroundings.
It wasn’t an easy start for Moreno, being drafted in to the mayhem of the Premier League and facing the champions away on your debut, but despite being partly at fault for the first goal when Stefan Jovetic capitalised on Moreno’s hesitation, the harsh realities in the Premier League haven’t dampened his spirits, as he’s kicked on since and proven himself in a short space of time.
Predominantly left footed, improvement on his weaker right foot would further his all-round game, as well as aerial duels, proven by winning on average 47% of his aerial battles playing for Sevilla last season. With that being said, he is still young and Brendan Rogers and the rest of the coaching staff at Liverpool can help him massively improve his all-round game as he matures.
Personally, I believe the pace of the Premier League and Liverpool’s style of play suits Moreno perfectly. The Spaniard has settled in well at the club after a slightly shaky start and having other Spanish names around him at the club in Suso, Javi Manquillo and Jose Enrique there to translate for him as he attempts to grasp the English language is an added bonus.
I think under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers, Moreno will continue to develop into a world class full-back, both defensively and in attack, and he’ll be able to push Jordi Alba all the way for that first choice spot at left back for Spain.