Over the last several weeks, one of the (very) few points of consensus among the Liverpool fanbase was a need for additional depth and quality out wide. With the loan of Victor Moses, the club has done just that. Now, let's see what exactly they've gotten themselves for the season.
Former Club: Chelsea | Position: Winger
Age: 22 (born 12/12/1990) | Height: 5’10" (177cm) | Preferred Foot: Either
Last Season: EPL 24 appearances (13 starts), 1 goal, 1 assist; Champions League 4 appearances (2 starts), 1 goal, 1 assist; Europa 6 appearances (5 starts), 4 goals
Strengths: Moses is lightning-quick, both in terms of open-field speed and close-area bursts. Between that and some fair ball-control skills, he's a good option to employ at making direct runs against the defense, using his pace and a modicum of power to cause havoc in a defense. He's also a willing shooter from a variety of ranges, and is under-ratedly good at simple layoffs in to space to create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
He's also strong with both feet, meaning that while he's more effective out on the right, he can operate just as well wide on the left. It also means that, no matter which flank he's on, he can either use his pace to burn for the touchline, or cut in and use his near foot to shoot or put in a through ball.
Weaknesses: For a winger, Moses is a terrible crosser. I mean really, really terrible. He's just as likely to put a ball on the corner flag as he is the striker standing on the far post. It's almost comical, honestly.
Also, while Moses is willing in his tracking back, his defensive technique is... questionable. He takes a lot of bad angles and set-ups when trying to intercept or face down an attacker, and the results are rarely pretty. He should also probably never tackle anyone. Ever.
Summation: I've stayed quiet on this move since it started looking like a reality because I wasn't sure how I felt about it on a whole. I really like Moses as a player, but that doesn't always strictly mean that a given move to get a liked player is a good one. However, I think I've come down squarely in the pro-Moses camp.
While a loan with no option to buy is hardly an ideal situation, it's one that makes sense in Liverpool's current situation out wide. The club was in need of senior quality, which Moses can provide. While he's not an elite-grade talent like a Willian or a Yarmolenko, he's still a very good player capable of getting a lot of minutes for this club.
However, with highly-promising talents like Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe improving and looking for significant playing time in the next couple of years, getting a non-elite long-term player may not have been what Liverpool wanted to do. Moses allows them to both improve the squad and keep room for Sterling and Ibe down the road, as well as help keep the squad in a place that will allow the club to send one of their promising youths out on loan in the Championship to get more regular playing time without compromising the squad's depth out wide.
While this deal isn't the top-shelf signing that many were hoping for, it still brings a good player to the side for the season and, for a lot of reasons, makes sense for the club. I'm perfectly OK with this move.