Alberto Moreno vs. Jose Enrique: Could this Liverpool target address Brendan Rodgers big problem?

Albe

Liverpool are close to signing Alberto Moreno from Sevilla, according to reports, which all but confirms Brendan Rodgers is looking for an upgrade at left-back in order to improve on last season’s embarrassing defensive displays, which saw the Reds conceded 50 Premier League goals.

Liverpool, of course, finished second in the division, just behind Manchester City and were fantastic in attack, scoring 101 goals. It was the defence that ultimately cost them the title, though, and Rodgers has clearly set about improving that through signing centre back Dejan Lovren from Southampton. Meanwhile, the Reds are close to wrapping up deals for Atletico Madrid Javier Manquillo, as well as the aforementioned Moreno from Sevilla.

Manquillo, 20, will likely arrive on a two-year loan and could compete with naturally right-sided Jon Flanagan to address Glen Johnson’s alarming decline over the past 18 months, while Moreno will almost certainly start at left-back.

Moreno made 29 La Liga appearances last season.

Moreno has been a regular for Sevilla over the past couple of years and playing a starring role in their Europa League triumph last season. He will cost the Reds around £16 million and should slot straight in at left-back on the opening weekend of the season against Southampton – should he sign before.

However, with Rodgers having spent heavily on improving the squad, and having chased Moreno for so long, is he right to look at the Spaniard while he already has a now match-fit Jose Enrique?

The Spaniard has declined, like Johnson, over the past year and only appeared eight times in the Premier League last season after a strange knee injury sidelined him for the vast majority of the campaign.

He wasn’t fantastic in his last full season in 2012-13, either, but having returned to full fitness, it is only fair to compare him to the player being bought in as his replacement.

So, how much of an improvement is Moreno on Enrique?

Moreno played 29 games in La Liga last season, the same number Enrique managed in England during 12/13 and their statistics are quite similar in some areas.

This is not the case in one particular area, though. The Defence Performance Score, averaged out over 90 minutes, is vastly greater in Enrique’s favour. He averaged 14.46 while Moreno was sat at a paltry 2.85 last season.

This could say a couple of things, though: either Moreno didn’t need to defend as much so scored fewer points, or his defending last season was poor. That Moreno transitioned from a winger to a full-back during his development could also represent a key factor.

One way to shed more light, though, could be to take a look at the rest of his defensive statistics.

Only Federico Fazio (88) performed more interceptions than Moreno (73) at Sevilla last season. Moreno’s figure is actually more than double Enrique’s (35) from the 2012-13 season.

Interceptions rankings table, Sevilla.

Interceptions rankings table, Sevilla.

Moreno actually cut out one more opposition pass than Sergio Ramos last season.

Enrique was stronger tackling in this comparison, though. He averaged 2.43 successful tackles in 12-13, much more than Moreno (1.42) and even won 75% of his tackles that season, compared to Moreno’s poor 40%.

Alberto Moreno vs Jose Enrique Comparison Matrix

Could Moreno be the answer to solve Liverpool’s problems at left-back?

He also failed in fewer tackles, averaging just 0.8 per 90 mins in that regard, while Moreno lost 2.16 in La Liga last season. However, in terms of aerial duels, Moreno came out on top despite his smaller stature. He won an average of 0.9 headed duels last season, while Enrique’s average stood at just 0.52.

One thing Enrique has always been criticised for is his lack of ability on the ball and moving forward. He plays the odd decent pass but Moreno’s passing accuracy of 79% is just better than the Liverpool man (76%).

The 22-year-old also completed more take-ons per 90 minutes last season, averaging 1.23 compared to Enrique’s 1.2.

In truth, there isn’t a lot to separate to the two players. Enrique was much better tackling, but Moreno dominated in interceptions, headed duels and just edged his fellow Spaniard out in terms of passing and take-ons.

It must be taken into account also that Enrique has declined since the 12-13 season and is not at the level he was then. Moreno would be a strong addition to the Liverpool side and could solve what is arguably the key issue within Liverpool’s squad. With age on his side, what’s more, Moreno can progress and improve under Brendan Rodgers.

Comments

Please consult these rules when commenting. These rules outline what is acceptable and unacceptable content on Squawka News. Note that these rules are subject to change at any time. Just like football.

See commenting rules
  1. Language

    Don't use swear words or profanity of any sort. Please refrain from insulting other users, everyone is entitled to their opinion and just because you shout the loudest, doesn't make you more correct or valid in your point of view. All insulting or offensive comments will be immediately removed.

  2. No libel or other abuse

    At no point should you be making comments which are:

    • defamatory, false or misleading;
    • insulting, threatening or abusive;
    • obscene or of a sexual nature;
    • offensive, racist, sexist, homophobic or discriminatory against any religions or other groups.

    We have an absolute zero tolerance policy on this. Football is the world's language.

  3. Report abuse

    If you see a comment not adhering to rules 1 & 2 please email info@squawka.com and this comment will be reviewed by a member of the Squawka editorial team.

  4. No third party promotion

    This comment section is here to let football fans talk about football, not to allow people to sell or push products. Any comment found peddling a third party will be immediately reviewed.

  5. No linking or copyright infringement

    You must not insert links to websites or submit content which would be an infringement of copyright.

  6. Play the game/Respect the game

    Please respect these rules when commenting on Squawka News; people will disagree from time to time but please try to see each other's point of view before getting all worked up, that helps no one.