More than a few eyebrows were raised yesterday when Alberto Moreno was in the team sheet to start against Cardiff City.
Once a serious contender to start, there is no zero doubt in any minds that Andy Robertson is the best left back at the club. When there’s a big game, he’s going to play. Of course, he’s only human, and occasionally he will need a rest. A home game against Cardiff seemed the ideal opportunity. Enter Moreno.
Of course, Moreno seemed to get beaten very easily by two Cardiff players on their way to scoring the Welsh side’s only goal of the game. The knives were out for a player who frequently frustrates the Anfield faithful.
Not in the eyes of Sadio Mane, though, who blames himself.
“I think we conceded because we lacked communication. Normally I am with Alberto [Moreno] on the left but I was in midfield and [one on one] it is not easy for Moreno.
“That is part of football, we will try to learn from that.”
Humility aside, Mane does raise a significant point in assigning blame for conceding goals. Defending is a collective exercise, much more than attacking, and a mistake by a defender is usually the result of a mistake by someone higher up the pitch. Leicester City’s distinctly average centre backs looked superhuman with N’Golo Kante in front of them, and have since returned to looking mediocre. Dejan Lovren struggled horribly before he was playing in a better structured pressing system with Virgil van Dijk alongside him. When Mane says he was out of position, he was correct. While Moreno did do poorly on the goal, in another reality he would have never been called into action.
Excellent understanding of collective responsibility, Sadio.