Jurgen Klopp has been manager of Liverpool Football Club for five games now and after picking up an emphatic win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, it is clear that he is already building a favoured starting line-up.
Alberto Moreno has started four out of five games under Klopp, only missing out on the League Cup game against Bournemouth. The Spaniard has been at Anfield for just over a year now and I have to admit, I like what I am seeing.
When he first arrived in August 2014, the immediate impression he gave was one of a fearless youngster, eager to prove himself at a Premier League club. Whilst he definitely gained attention, he appeared lacking in his defensive abilities, which wasn’t going to be suitable having forged the role of a left-back.
He has of course favoured the title of “winger” it’s fair to say, but he was signed by Brendan Rodgers to fit into the backline and Moreno clearly needed to work on his game if he was going to be a regular feature in the starting XI.
Upon arrival at L4, it took Moreno just five days before scoring his first goal, further proving his attacking prowess. In the first half of his season though, he wasn’t noted for strong defensive performances, and some silly mistakes combined with a lack of positional awareness often left him caught off guard, but it was clear that there was potential.
Rodgers showed faith with Moreno and to be fair to the former Reds boss, it could have been an easy decision to opt for a more experienced player. But Moreno grew in confidence with each game and began to understand English football. Supporters often take for granted the ability of some players to simply switch to the style of play in a foreign league, but whilst the transition is straight forward for some, it is a real period of adjustment for many.
In Spain, I think it would have been common for him to lead a counter-attack or drift out of position without it being too much of an issue, and he had a chance to slot into the role of a winger. As cliché as it sounds though, it’s a different pace in the English game and you need to be intelligent, however the Spaniard has matured vastly over the past few months in my opinion.
Having watched him under Klopp, it is also clear that he is benefiting from the leadership of the German. His timing has become far better for instance, one tackle in particular springs to mind in the game against Southampton when he raced back up the field and produced a brilliant slide tackle to take the ball away from the onrushing Sadio Mane.
I have to say I’m excited for what’s to come with Moreno. He’s an extremely hard worker and certainly doesn’t take his starting position for granted. Under Klopp, he may also gain more time to show his flair such as that pacey break against Chelsea at the weekend, which he almost followed up with a goal.
It’s important to remember though that he’s just 23! He’s yet to fully experience playing for his national side and defenders tend to reach their prime a lot later, I seriously think we’re in for a real treat with the number 18 and I shall certainly be keeping a close eye on him going forward.