Alberto Moreno has been a polarizing figure among Liverpool fans over the years. Occasional moments of brilliance often gave way to unjustifiable decision-making, some of which undoubtedly cost Liverpool points along the way. For a while he had fallen out of Jürgen Klopp’s plans, to the point where the manager seemed more keen to give an Academy player a shot than risk starting Moreno again. With minutes becoming exceedingly scarce, it seemed like a move elsewhere was just a matter of time.
But through a combination of extenuating circumstances— injuries, mainly— and his refusal to give up on the Reds that easily, Moreno fought to stay and prove to Klopp that he belongs here. And this season, he won that argument, working his way back into the Starting XI. And he’s earned it, too. His performances in both numbers and via the eyeball test, and he’s made a clear turnaround from liability to asset.
In a long interview for the club website, Moreno talked about his struggles at Liverpool and his fight to get back onto the teamsheet.
“You always think ‘Where can I improve? How can I improve?’ You do grow and get better season on season, you think ‘How can I give more? How can I produce more?’ A good example to look at would be this season to the one just gone, where I hardly played at all. I said to myself in the close season, ‘What can I change? What can I do differently to be able to play more?’ So, first and foremost, work really hard, try to work even harder in pre-season. I managed to have a couple of decent performances in pre-season games, so that’s a good example in comparison to how I suffered last season by being out of the side and things were tough. This time, it’s an example of how you can turn things around in relation to what you’ve got left to give from the previous year. I managed to turn it around; fortunately, I’m in the team and enjoying what I do this season.”
He also talked about his family and the support he received from them when times were tough.
“When my dad first saw me playing and started to get the idea I could go all the way and make it as a professional player, he used to instil in me this ethic of working hard. He said, ‘If you work hard, keep at it, be focused mentally and physically, look after yourself, you’ve got it within you to go all the way.’ You don’t believe it because at that age all you want to do is play the next game and have fun, you don’t look beyond that. But over the years, as you grow your ability and strength and belief, in the back of your mind you start to believe you can make it as a player yourself. But it’s very difficult and you do make lots of sacrifices. When you get to the teenage years and all your mates are going out, you want to keep fit and lead a healthy life and look after yourself because you want to be a player. So last season, for just one bad season I’m not going to let all that hard work and sacrifice and mental strength go and throw it to waste.”
The whole interview is worth a read. The part where he talks about his young daughter and how her birth changed him as a person is especially poignant.