He’d already been winning more and more converts to his side in recent weeks, but Andy Robertson’s performance for Liverpool against FC Porto this past week earned him high praise from a far more important observer - his manager Jürgen Klopp. While it was the attacking trio that got most of the attention for Liverpool’s comprehensive 5-0 victory, much credit has to go to Robertson and his counterpart on the other side of the pitch Trent Alexander-Arnold for keeping Porto at bay.
“It was really good,” said Klopp about Robertson’s contribution to the team effort. “The whole package, offensively and defensively, was really good. I would say it was his best game.” All the more impressive given that it was Robertson’s Champions League debut for Liverpool, and the manager was well aware of the extra pressure that situation can bring.
“We didn’t speak before the game about his debut, we handled it like business as usual, and he did really well,” added Klopp. “At the end it’s only a football game but we are all human beings and we are [affected] by different circumstances and when you hear the Champions League song before the game...”
But as the squad took something of a breather with a warm weather training break in Marbella, Spain, the manager reminded everyone that he had not forgotten about his other left back - the one who had started the season in solid form and who seemed to have turned his Liverpool career around.
“The way people talk about Alberto Moreno, I hope it has settled a little bit but it was never fair, that’s just how it is,” said Klopp from the camp. “If you see Alberto Moreno training, there’s nobody in the squad has a shadow of a doubt about him quality-wise.”
“He’s an unbelievably strong player and he didn’t deliver all the time, that’s true, but at the beginning of the season he was so strong for us.”
Looking ahead, with Moreno working towards match fitness after the injury that cruelly interrupted his renaissance, Klopp knows that he has a bona fide selection quandary, even taking into account the different qualities that Robertson and Moreno each brings to the table.
“That’s why we have more than 11 players and, thank God, in the moment Alberto got the injury, Robbo stepped up,” reflected the manager. “It was lucky to be honest, it was exactly the right timing. Now Alberto has to fight, no doubt about that, but we need two left-backs, we cannot go into the season with one.”