After years of struggling at the position, Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo have been a paired revelation at fullback for Liverpool—and they've only been at the club a month. Though hopes are high that with a little bit of time this new squad can come together as last year's did, at present there is really only one position with no doubts or question marks.
That position is fullback. Few would have believed it if you'd told them that would be the case at the end of last season, but a month into the new campaign its the 22-year-old Moreno and 20-year-old Manquillo who have been Liverpool's two best players. And ahead of Saturday's match against West Ham, Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for their contributions.
"We changed the system three times against Ludogorets to get us the result, and it was our two young fullbacks who got the assists," said the manager. "They showed great mentality. Javi at right back is like a rash, all over attackers. He's hard to beat and gets forward well. He wants to create. And everyone can see Alberto's ambition is to get forward."
The conventional wisdom is that fullbacks develop late and players can struggle to adapt to the frantic, rough and tumble pace of English football. Whether one puts any credit in such beliefs, Liverpool's scouting staff deserve credit for finding two youngsters ready to make an instant impact—especially Manquillo, who arrived having played just six league games for Atletico Madrid.
Rodgers, though, believes that there's far more to come from the duo. That as good as they have been in their first month as Liverpool players, once they are fully settled and adjusted they will get even better. After years of struggling to find consistently effective fullbacks, it's a thought that should make Liverpool fans giddy and opponents terrified.
"Both fullbacks are enjoying their football and settling really well," he said. "Both were brought in, first, because they can defend, and as they adapt more to this level they're only going to get better. But so far they're loving their life in Liverpool."