It seems more and more like Alberto Moreno coming to Liverpool for a medical and contract signing is just a matter of time, especially after the left back was snubbed from the Spanish national team for the World Cup. Some reports have a fee already having been agreed, and Sevilla would likely want to get a deal done fairly quickly so they can use the money to reinforce their squad elsewhere as they're not exactly loaded with cash.
With that in mind, it's time for another scouting report, this time looking at the Seville-born defender that everyone is so excited about.
DOB: 7/5/92 (21) | Height: 5'7" (1.72 meters)
2014 Season: 43 appearances (38 starts)
3 goals, 2 assists
Strengths: While not a full-blown burner, Moreno is pretty fast in his own right, both over long and short distances. He has a pretty awesome burst that lets him close down on a ball or attacker in a hurry, which is a vitally important attribute for a fullback to have these days with how much time they spend high up the pitch. He's also fairly strong, and doesn't let himself get muscled off the ball easily.
As far as his technical skills, Moreno has good short- and medium-range passes in him, as well as a pretty nice cross. He also runs very well with the ball, using deft touches with his left foot to dribble past a defender and look to create something for his teammates.
Defensively, he reads the run of play pretty darn well, using that aforementioned burst to cut off runs and rack up interceptions. Some considering tackling to be a weakness of Moreno's because he doesn't go to ground very often, but he's actually quite adept at poking the ball free and recovering it, which in general I find preferable to higher risk blow-em-up tackles.
He also presses well, using good body positioning as much as anything else to frustrate and disrupt what the man with the ball is trying to do. That trait has led him to be used further up the pitch as a defensive winger at times, something we should be surprised if Brendan Rodgers tries out in some matchups.
Weaknesses: Moreno is very one footed, and while that's not unusual for left backs, it seems like he's even less comfortable with his right foot than most left backs. This lends him more limited utility around the box, as he can't use the improved angles of a right-footed shot or pass to his advantage.
Also, Moreno's passing, while good in and of itself, isn't really of a creative nature, meaning that you're not really going to see too many through balls or lobs or cheeky layoffs to set someone up. In most systems that's not much of an impediment, but that lack of incision and creativity could be a drawback for the way Rodgers likes to play, at least to some extent.
This shouldn't be a shock given his height, but Moreno also isn't very good at all in the air. That's not a big issue in La Liga, but given how much aerial action happens in the EPL, that might create problems at times for Liverpool. If you're one of the people hoping that Liverpool's squad would get bigger and taller this season, Moreno might not be the guy for you.
Other Thoughts: If Moreno does sign with Liverpool, it will almost certainly be a bittersweet moment for him. He'll be going to one of the biggest clubs in the world, but he'll not only be leaving the only club he's ever known, but his home city as well. Moreno was born and raised in Seville, and signed with Sevilla as a youth before starring with them these past two years. Don't be shocked if we see some signs of him being homesick at some point in the next couple of years.
Summation: £16 million plus addons is a fair chunk of change for a 21 year old fullback, but in an era where clubs pay for potential as much as current talent, it's not at all an unreasonable fee for Moreno. He's very well-rounded and has already shown a high level of capability despite his tender age. It should not be overlooked that he was an important part of Sevilla's Europa League championship, and he played very well against some quality opposition along the way.
Given that Liverpool have long had problems getting long-term quality at left back, this should definitely be a move to get excited about. If this move works as well as it looks like it could, we may be looking at Liverpool's starting left back for the next decade. Get excited, folks.