Alberto Moreno arrived at Anfield promising but unfinished; talented but lacking the discipline and guile one would hope for from a defender. At first, the question was how long it would take for Moreno to develop a more rounded game. Eventually, it became a belief that he wouldn’t.
Promise turned into stagnation; mistakes and recklessness off the ball remained. He found himself out of the starting eleven and written off. His Liverpool career was meant to be over, and at times he felt hopeless for it. Then, somehow, somewhere along the way, something clicked.
“In the end, it’s the player who changes the situation,” he told The Guardian. “Last year was useful: to think, to change things, to say to myself: ‘Alberto, what can you do better?’ And the first thing was: defend. I’m a defender. I’ve changed that. I’m more focused; I think you can see that.
“Maybe in my first few years at Liverpool, I was always thinking: ‘Attack, attack, attack.’ Confidence is vital for a footballer but I’m more settled, more focused: now I’m like: ‘First, let’s defend, keep a clean sheet and, then, let’s go forward.’ I think I am attacking less but better.”
All told it’s been a calmer, more composed, and more settled Alberto Moreno on display at Liverpool so far this season, a player who finally looks to have developed into something like the player so many hoped Liverpool had signed when he arrived from Sevilla in the summer of 2014.
He also, despite his struggles at time since arriving, talks about the club he plays for in a way few players do, as though he sees his future at it—saying that with or without his best friend in the squad, Philippe Coutinho, he believes this is a side that can go on to achieve great things.
“If I get to decide, Philippe’s not going,” he added. "But I can’t interfere. It’s Liverpool, Barcelona and him. They decide. He’s a big piece at Liverpool. Every fan, everyone who watches, everyone who understands football knows that. They know that if he goes, it will leave a big hole.
“But we’re Liverpool. We have a great squad and won’t stop being Liverpool. I’ve been here for four years and I’m desperate to win. It’s taking its time, but we have a good team, so dream, let’s dream. We have a great team. I don’t think anyone in the Champions League wants to face Liverpool.”