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Klopp on the Milner and Moreno Conundrum

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What lies ahead for the player who was once Liverpool’s left back of the future?

Aston Villa v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Prior to Liverpool's match against Hull City, one of the squad's current defenders cemented his place in the "out of favor" column with an unfortunate foray into social media. After the match, in which veteran and makeshift left back James Milner put in another sterling display, there were questions about Alberto Moreno's place in that column.

Milner, for his part, said all the right things in the immediate aftermath of the match, noting the squad's quality in depth, and emphasizing that his starting spot is far from secure:

You see the bench and some boys have been injured, some players aren’t in the squad, and the young boys who are knocking around the squad with such quality. It’s pleasing.

And you know if you don’t perform, the shirt is going to be taken off you and someone else is going to get the chance. And you don’t know how long they are going to have that shirt for.

Milner's boss struck a similar tone during his press conference. When the discussion turned to Milner's solid and unfussy performance at left back, manager Jurgen Klopp was quick to point to good work elsewhere on the pitch and on the training ground. That praise extended to the player whose starting spot Milner appears to have usurped.

We could say the same about Clyney – did anybody see Clyney that often in and around the opponents’ box? It’s a very important position for us, a very, very important position for us.

To be honest, one of the best players in training in the last few weeks has been Alberto Moreno. He took the situation brilliantly and is in a really good moment.

Which all sounds very well and good. There has been nary a sound from Moreno off the pitch about his current situation, so perhaps the young defender is aware that his manager appreciates his efforts in training, and more importantly, has faith in his own future at Anfield.

Klopp’s words do, however, suggest that there are limits to the training ground meritocracy described by Milner. However well Moreno may have been performing at Melwood, it would appear that Milner still has the greater share of the manager’s confidence, at least for now. If Moreno can translate his purported midweek form into a good weekend or two when given the chance, Liverpool might really be “in a good moment” with their fullbacks.