The narratives surrounding footballers can be a funny thing, the way half truths and skewed perceptive becomes accepted wisdom. Alberto Moreno arrived a young attacking fullback, a player to aid the team in possession and improve their goal threat while being able to run up and down his flank for ninety minutes with little support.
Defensively, though, he was never supposed to be perfect. Such attacking fullbacks rarely are, especially when they're played in generally narrow formations without much help or support from wide midfielders or wingers. With Liverpool failing to score many goals, though, that trade-off inherent in an attacking fullback's game soon made Moreno a liability.
Or so the narrative went. When Joe Gomez—an 18-year-old right-footed centre half played out of positive at left back—looked defensively sound played in a conservative and more naturally wide formation that gave him defensive support while asking little of him going forward, many were quick to write Moreno off completely. Including, it seemed, the manager.
Liverpool, though, were still struggling to score goals. They weren't even creating chances. And so Gomez was played in a more narrow and attack-minded formation at Anfield against West Ham as Brendan Rodgers sought to get Liverpool back to their attacking ways. Isolated, he looked just as bad in defence as Moreno ever had while adding nothing to the attack.
Against Manchester United, despite reverting to a more conservative lineup, he again struggled. The narrative shifted. Even those who continued to insist Moreno was the inferior defender—despite that Gomez had only looked better in that respect when given far more help than Moreno typically got—were ready to make the trade and play an attacking fullback.
Moreno improved Liverpool against Bordeaux mid-week. The goals didn't come, but Liverpool looked better. They looked more dangerous. There at least seemed the chance of goals. In the end, it was a performance that earned him the next league start, and against Norwich he was Liverpool best player, turning in a Man of the Match performance.
Goals may still be a difficult ask for this Liverpool side, but Moreno made them look truly dangerous down the left for the first time this season. He did his job in possession and attack, and with his pace was able to ensure he at least didn't make any unforgivable mistakes at the back. He looked one of the brightest young attacking left backs in the game.
Long may it continue.
Video by MrBoywunder