When Liverpool were in need of depth on the wings over the summer, they found what appeared to be a very manageable solution to their problem. Victor Moses was surplus to Chelsea's needs for the season, and an inexpensive loan suited Liverpool's needs perfectly, allowing them to use their transfer budget elsewhere. Bringing in Moses for the season would allow the club to bring along Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe a little more slowly instead of rushing their development, and wouldn't block them in the future.
Sadly, things haven't worked out as smoothly as hoped.
Moses has played fifteen times for Liverpool this season, with eight of those appearances coming as starts. He's gone the full 90 just twice, both in disappointing performances for the squad (the 0-1 loss to Southampton and the 2-2 draw at Newcastle). When Moses has come on as a substitute, he's never played more than 23 minutes, a mark he's hit three times this season.
Liverpool was hoping to get more playing time than that from Moses, but he just hasn't earned it. His first couple of matches went well for the Nigerian, including scoring a goal on his debut. Then he was played out of position for a few matches, and shortly after lost any semblance of form, which he's so far shown no sign of regaining. Before his woeful performance against Oldham this weekend that saw him subbed at the half, Moses hadn't started in a month, since the Hull City debacle on December 1st.
And now? Now Chelsea are mad about it. Apparently they're showing their anger by threatening to not accept bids from Liverpool for Ryan Bertrand, and have told the player to consider Moses' struggles at Anfield when he thinks about a potential Liverpool move.
I can understand Chelsea being upset about one of their assets being underplayed, but this reaction reeks of "I'm taking my ball and going home." This isn't some Sunday back-lot pub league. This is the English Premier League. Plans go awry on a regular basis, and to take that kind of attitude about it is childish at best.
It is worth nothing that this isn't the first loan from Chelsea that's gone bad under Brendan Rodgers' watch. In 2012, Rodgers brought Josh McEachran in to reinforce his Swansea side. McEachran was, at the time, considered Chelsea's brightest prospect and the midfielder was thought to be an excellent fit for the possession-based football Rodgers had the Swans ticking away with at the time.
However, McEachran would go on to make just five appearances with one start with Swansea. Chelsea were supposedly understanding at the time, considering the wonderful form that fellow loanee Gylfi Sigurdsson found, but it would be reasonable to believe that they would be wary of such a thing happening with Rodgers in the future.
So why did they loan Moses to Liverpool in the first place, especially when there were other clubs lined up to take him on? And why are Chelsea so hot and bothered about it when they knew that this exact scenario was a risk, if not a likelihood, the moment that they agreed to the loan?
Possibly the most frustrating thing about Chelsea's attitude in this is that Moses clearly has no future use to their club beyond his future transfer fee. With Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Andre Schurrle, and Willian already in the fold, they're already having a hard time finding enough matches to go around on the wings. Add in prospects like Charlie Musonda and Bertrand Traore, and there's no room for Moses on Chelsea's roster either next season or down the line.
If Chelsea are really so upset about Moses' situation, they can feel free to recall him. It would hurt Liverpool's depth, but that shouldn't bother Chelsea any given that the clubs are competing for Champions League places right now. From Liverpool's perspective, they need a winger in this window anyways, and replacing what little they've gotten from Moses this season shouldn't be hard.