When Andrew Robertson arrived at Anfield last summer, pundits and fans alike thought that this was a move by Klopp to begin planning for the transfer for Alberto Moreno out of Liverpool. For several seasons, the enduringly eccentric Spaniard has under-performed in defense, leading to rampant speculation that he would be shown the door by Klopp. The retooling of vice captain James Milner as Liverpool’s primary left-back last season further inflamed those speculations.
But then something interesting happened: Alberto Moreno got better. After a year of training under Klopp, of seething about losing his spot to an out-of-position midfielder, of watching a younger replacement get brought in, of keeping his head down and getting on with it, Moreno won back his position.
Not only that: in what some are dubbing the Morenaissance, the left-back has found himself not only back in Liverpool’s plans, but in Spain’s as well, receiving his first call-up for his country in several years.
About his old/new main left-back, Klopp said, “I am happy for him because he had a very difficult situation last year. That’s how it was. We spoke before the last season what we wanted him to do differently. He needed a bit of time and now he is doing well. Hopefully he can do well in the future again because that’s how you show consistency.”
Now as people question Andy Robertson’s lack of playing time, Klopp suggested that the 23-year-old need only look at his competition for inspiration.
“It’s the exact same situation for Andy Robertson,” Klopp said.
“People will say ‘why do you do that? Because he is here and not playing?’ Because he has to learn. But there is no problem. We are in conversation, talk about it and he has to improve.
“As long as the other players are doing like this. Alberto is like a little machine, he never shows when he is tired and stuff like this. Andrew has had a little less rhythm. So you think now, okay, he will have a game with the national team and come back. We will have a little internal game then and that’s good for Andy.
“So he’s on a good way, a really good way. It’s going well apart from maybe he is not happy he cannot start so often as he would have thought from the beginning.
“But it’s all about improvement and then to be ready for the moment you are used.”
Robertson may yet get his chance when the FA Cup games begin and the schedule starts to really heat up. Injuries plus fatigue plus fixture congestion pretty much guarantees that everyone gets a go in the winter.
Until then, Klopp has shown consistently that he rewards hard work and good behavior, as Moreno’s resurgence proves, so taking the hint from his competition seems pretty good advice to follow.