By most accounts, Liverpool leftback Alberto Moreno was the sole glaring weak spot in an otherwise great 4-3 win at the Emirates on Sunday. Still, reports emerged yesterday that Liverpool would not be dipping into the transfer market for a new leftback.
For those frustrated by Moreno’s continued appearances, today’s report from The Echo’s James Pearce should come as a relief. Pearce reports that veteran midfielder James Milner will replace Moreno against Burnley in the upcoming fixture on Saturday.
“[Jürgen Klopp and I] had a conversation about it and I told him it’s not my favorite position and not one I particularly like playing,” Milner said about playing leftback during preseason training. “But he’s the manager and if he wants me to play there, I’ll play there.
“The team comes first, always has, always will. Throughout my career you have to play in different positions. I’m probably a good player for a manager to have because I fill in in a number of positions.”
Milner filled in at leftback several times during the hectic preseason schedule, and as in the case against Barcelona, often to great effect. Fullback might not be Milner’s natural or preferred position, but he’s a hardworking and versatile enough that the move could work for the Reds.
It is unclear whether this decision is a direct result of the previous match, or if this was Klopp’s intention all along once Milner recovered from his bruised heel. If the former, this could be Klopp’s way of protecting Moreno from further criticism, which has been reaching a fever pitch in recent months. If the latter, we have to start wondering about Moreno’s long-term viability at the club.
Moreno is still young, but at 24 years of age, we would expect him to start entering his peak years, and to not make so many rash decisions and not to have as many lapses in concentration. The former Sevilla man was brought in two years ago today and he’s still showing many of the same defensive liabilities as when he first came in.
All of that said, Klopp seems determined to get the best out of Alby. In the meantime we just have to sit back and hope to see another Dejan Lovren-esque miracle turnaround.