I don’t often get down with best-of player lists. Is Virgil Van Dijk the best centre-half on the planet? Maybe, but I’m not apt to climb a hill and shout it out until someone comes by to argue otherwise. Is Lionel Messi the best player to ever play the game? I’m not really too fussed about it. I admire the superiority of great players but the club, Liverpool in this case, obviously, is what gets me going. For instance, is Liverpool the best club on the planet? Yes.
Jürgen Klopp has an elite squad at Liverpool now. Talent has been brought in and talent has been cultivated and over the last few seasons the manager has shown us all how to create a great team. It isn’t just with money. It takes money and know-how and planning and patience and a whole bunch of other stuff. Scouts are out there in the world all the time finding diamonds in the rough that can be trained into formidable footballers.
Andy Robertson is one such diamond who had been relegated with Hull City when Liverpool scooped him up for around £8million. It was a head-scratcher at the time but proved to be a masterstroke from the Liverpool recruitment team.
Two years on and Robertson is considered by many to be one of the best left backs in the world. Talent and commitment from the player, training and attention from a world-class manager, and being surrounded by high-calibre players every day has its perks. Ex-Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock had his say on Robertson swashbuckling style and delivered some high praise to the Scotsman.
“I think last season with the protection that Andy got from the midfielders, whether that be Fabinho, James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum or Jordan Henderson, he knew he was able to make those runs forward without leaving gaps behind him,” said Warnock.
“When he is going forward, the quality of delivery he possesses is brilliant. You see a lot of full-backs or wingers who get in a good position and they panic and try and overhit the ball.
“But the one thing you see with Robbo and Trent is they don’t panic and they have composure; they slow themselves down in those positions and their quality comes out.
“The biggest thing for me with Robbo is – and I know everyone talks about his assists and quality going forward - defensively he is superb.
“Your modern day full-back can often attack, but can he defend? Robbo can do both comfortably and for me, and I’ve said it before, he is arguably the best left-back in the world at the moment.”
I’m not arguing Stephen.
“He is Scotland’s captain on merit,” said Warnock. “When he first came into the club, I don’t think at the time anyone would have predicted just what he has gone on to achieve so far and the level he is playing at.”
Robertson has been everything we’ve wanted at left back and more since Roy Hodgson rubbed his face and plopped Paul Konchesky into the spot nearly a decade ago. Is Andy the best left back in the world? I don’t know. But he’s certainly playing at an elite level for the best team in the world.