Upgrade On Enrique? Why Liverpool Should Target This Marauding Left-Back
Sitting in second place on 24 points following an exhilarating 3-3 Merseyside Derby with Everton, Liverpool have it all to play for over the remainder of the season in the fight for Champions League football, or even the Premier League title. At left-back, a point of concern has arisen with chopping and changing due to various circumstances, yet the time to bring in reinforcements in January sits just around the corner.
Normally first choice on the left side of Brendan Rodgers’ defence is Jose Enrique who has just undergone surgery to repair a knee problem that will see him on the treatment table until, at least, February.
Loanee Aly Cissokho has yet to fully convince for the Reds during his still brief stint at Anfield, whilst youngster Jon Flanagan has shown promise but it remains to be seen whether he can hold down a consistent place for a side competing for a finish amongst the classy reaches of the table.
And so with the situation remaining tenuous for Liverpool at left-back, should the famed outfit be targeting Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno as the solution?
Just 21 years of age himself, the recent Spain debutant has impressed for the Andalusian club in his maiden full top flight campaign, going the distance in 13 of 14 La Liga contests to date.
Moreno has demonstrated proficiency in both the offensive and defensive phases of the game to go along with his unquestionable stamina.
He’s averaged six defensive actions per game this term, a figure that includes 39 clearances and 39 interceptions, whilst succeeding in 22 of 32 tackles to aid the Rojiblancos at the back.
These numbers suggest a steady presence that reads the game well from his position out wide and is proactive in winning the ball back to transition defence into attack.
A pacy customer, the Sevilla youth product possesses an excellent touch on the ball and is never shy to run at opponents, having completed 24 take ons at a 62% clip in his 13 appearances.
Adding five chances created, Moreno is also inclined to provide for his teammates from wide areas, as he’s often able to get to the byline due to his marauding runs down the flank.
His pass accuracy of 76% could use some refining, however, especially when viewed in the context of Rodgers’ tactical system that values tidy distribution, whilst a Squawka Performance Score of 136 lends the idea that the 21-year-old hasn’t entirely grown out of the inconsistency of a player his age.
Yet Moreno undoubtedly already is a full back of high calibre at both ends of the pitch, as can be seen from his statistical exploits, and certainly his recent call-up to the senior Spain squad is indicative of his conditioned faculties that are highly regarded by La Furia Roja boss Vicente del Bosque.
Given his young years and high growth ceiling, a permanent move for the Sevilla defender would be a long-term shout for Liverpool, one that would signal a departure from Enrique as first-choice when he returns to action whilst likely sending Cissokho back to Valencia and resigning Flanagan to a move elsewhere.
Moreno only just inked a new deal with his current employers that sees him tied to the club until 2018 and as a result wouldn’t come cheap, but could prove a wise investment down the years with ample opportunities at Anfield.
Any deal for the Spaniard would have to be a measured one, a commitment to the player as Liverpool’s future at left back, and in turn would be a slight gamble as being a January acquisition he’d have to settle quickly in England amidst the Merseysiders’ quest for a favourable Premier League finish.
Yet his talent is undeniable, and if Liverpool are indeed confident about his prospects both short-term and in the future, a move for Moreno looks a worthy endeavor that could provide the Reds with what they require in his natural role.