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Moses Reaches the Promised Land

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Victor Moses has made a generally promising start to his Liverpool career, despite playing out of position. He is genuinely pleased to finally be working with Brendan Rodgers, having chosen not to join him previously at Chelsea.

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Insert joke about red sea parting
Insert joke about red sea parting
Julian Finney

Not often in life do the disparate fates of two people intersect twice. The array of choice and responsibility each of us faces in our complex and meandering lives is so vast that such connections, be they passionately romantic, Platonic or professional, are rare indeed. And yet, against the odds, they do occur, even when the two individuals lives are as nomadic as those of a professional footballer and manager.

As a prodigiously talented sixteen year old, Victor Moses was the shining light in the Crystal Palace youth academy. Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers had risen in the coaching world to be the head of Chelsea's youth set-up. With the club flying high, Rodgers' position had an added cachet and when Moses impressed the Northern Irishman with a sparkling display on trial, he offered the young Nigerian the chance to join the Pensioners' academy (I know, sounded odd to me too).

Moses, already a burnished star in the England youth firmament, had a choice to make. His sensible and ultimately wise decision was to stay with Palace and climb a ladder less steep. It is to his credit that he still reached the top of that ladder in a relatively short time, with a stellar spell at Wigan from 2010 to 2012 leading to his transfer to Chelsea in that year. Now, via a circumlocutious route, he has been signed on loan for Liverpool Football Club, by one Brendan Rodgers. In an interview with KICK OFF magazine, Moses recalled that initial encounter with his current gaffer.

"I spoke to him when I was sixteen and he wanted me to come to Chelsea," explains the twenty two year old. "So I trained with the club for a bit and he was impressed. I went back home after the training period, had a little think about it and thought I'd have a better chance to play and develop at Palace. So I rang him up and said that I was sorry but I had decided not to join them and that I wanted to build my career from Palace."

Rodgers, for his part, is pleased to be working with Moses again. We have seen clearly by now from his signings, how much Rodgers values technically proficient and adaptable players. The Nigerian is just such a footballer and the Liverpool boss is quick to extol his virtues.

"I know what I'm getting, " Rodgers insisted. "He's got the profile that suits our game in terms of his technique, his quality, and he's a humble guy."

The appreciation is mutual. Moses seems to be quite taken with his new boss and happy that their paths have crossed again. It's as though he is particularly pleased by the symmetry of it and his enthusiasm about working with the Northern Irishman is frank and unabashed.

"It's great actually that I eventually move to Liverpool and he's the manager here and I get the chance to work under him. He's just brilliant and I'm glad he's been doing so well because he's the kind of manager I enjoy playing for. He's very encouraging but also very helpful when it comes to improving your game, so it's nice to get this opportunity after all these years."

There have been signs that Moses may be an excellent addition to this Liverpool squad, as Rodgers plots a course for Europe's top table. His technique is patently apparent and in the right part of the field he has proven himself to be fleet of foot. That the manager trusted him with the central and advanced midfield role, in the absence of "wonderful technician" Philippe Coutinho, is testimony to his faith in the young attacker. That Moses struggled there does not diminish him as a footballer, but merely highlights the specificity of the skill-set required to play there.

On the occasions he has been free to raid from the flanks -- his natural game, lest we forget -- the attacker has looked lively, creative and dangerous. As Rodgers' squad finally looks to be free of injury, Moses may struggle to play from the start but to have a player of his caliber, alongside Coutinho and Luis Alberto on the bench at the Emirates will make this scribbler prowl a little less anxiously in front of his television screen on Saturday. If called upon, Victor Moses will not let his old acquaintance down. Having met again, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.