Beloved Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher has adapted to life as a professional Hot Take dispenser reasonably well. In his capacity as a fully vetted and certified Football Pundit, he’s remade himself post-retirement as someone with Strong Opinions on television and a predisposition to Twitter combat.
His fighty nature makes it so that, even when he has a point, you still want to tussle with him (verbally) for the principle of the thing. Which leads me, curiously, to play Devil’s Advocate on behalf of Alberto Moreno.
In an interview with talksport, Carra brought up James Milner keeping his place in the team at left-back and said that only one conclusion can be drawn from it— Moreno’s Liverpool career is done.
“He [Jürgen Klopp] obviously rates him [James Milner] higher than Moreno. If you’re a left-back and the manager is playing a right midfielder ahead of you it probably tells you time is up at the club, so I would imagine in January or the end of the season a left-back will come in. Milner would become back up and it wouldn’t be too bad then. I must say he’s done very well but at this stage of his career it is not easy, but I don’t think it could last for a full season and I am sure Klopp and his team are scouting for a left-back. Because you can see he has no time for Moreno.”
Carragher has been a relentless critic of Moreno since at least last season, when the Spaniard put in less-than-admirable performances against Manchester City in the League Cup final against Manchester City and against Sevilla in the Europa League final. His 2016-17 campaign got off to an inauspicious start following his performance in the 4-3 win at Arsenal, in which he conceded a penalty and was widely criticized for overall poor play. Gary Lineker charitably described his place in the team as “a liability.” To his credit, Klopp defended his player at the time and said the criticism of him was a bit overblown.
Nonetheless, with no other natural options available, Klopp has been starting Milner at left-back ahead of Moreno. Carragher seems to believe that once Klopp manages to bring in an actual left-back, either in January or next summer, the final nail will have been driven into Moreno’s Liverpool tenure.
Moreno has become an unpopular character among fans, and there’s not much I could say that would change their minds. Yet, those big games notwithstanding, it does seem that Moreno has had more good days than bad under Klopp. While the boss may have sat Moreno for poor form, I think it’s too soon to write the obituary on Moreno’s career at Anfield. When he’s on his game he’s indispensable. His challenge, and Klopp’s, is to figure out how those bad days seem to happen— whether it’s poor discipline or bad decision-making or psychological factors— and find ways to work through them.