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No Holiday For the Liverpool Rumor Mill: Left Back Edition

On the first day of Christmas, the sports papers gave to me: one Aston Villa left back.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

A wise internet meme master once suggested that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. The left back position at Liverpool Football Club is evidence to the contrary. Sure, there’s been tragedy (“Aly Cissokho, where art thou? No really where are you, you’re out of position”) and no small amount of farce (Paul Konchesky), but there’s also been some experimental theater (James Milner), burlesque (Jose Enrique’s social media accounts), and even dinner theater interactive murder mysteries (Alberto Moreno, in the library, by Jürgen Klopp, with a plastic training cone).

The latest name to (re)surface as a potential new act at that position is Aston Villa’s Jordan Amavi. This is by no means a completely novel link. Amavi, at twenty-two years of age, was once linked with a plethora of “big clubs” before an ACL tear in his right knee cruelly put a temporary halt to his career. Following his recovery, Amavi continued to be monitored by clubs in need of help at the left back position, particularly in the wake of Aston Villa’s relegation to the Championship following the 2015-16 season. Liverpool Football Club were among those rumored to be waiting in the wings during the most recent transfer window.

As supporters will no doubt know, no moves materialized for any new competition for Alberto Moreno. Instead, midfielder James Milner has been reprogrammed and reconstructed by manager Klopp to be the all-action left back needed within this system. It’s a role to which Milner has naturally committed himself 110%, and the midfielder has done a more than serviceable job going forward. On the defensive end, he hasn’t been significantly worse than Moreno, which is perhaps why this position continues to generate rumors.

Amavi had, until recently, been most prominently linked with Olympique Marseille - sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta was reported to have made Amavi a priority in the January transfer window. Now, certain observers in France have indicated that l’OM face competition from Premier League clubs, including Liverpool in particular. As a French national, there might be a certain amount of appeal in joining Marseille for Amavi, but reports suggest that the lure of returning to the Premier League remains strong for the young left back.

We’ve previously covered what Amavi might bring to Liverpool. If lingering question marks around his knee can be resolved, there is no small amount of potential upside, and he could lock down the position to the same degree Nathaniel Clyne has on the right side. While Milner has done a more-than-decent job filling in while Alberto Moreno tries to get his groove back, it’s clear that having the thirty year-old midfielder at left back is not a long term solution. As always, watch this space for new developments.