Alberto Moreno, Liverpool and the full-back situation at Anfield 1

Alberto Moreno is finally on the verge of joining Liverpool.  I’ve written about the Spaniard quite a few times, and actually once or twice specifically in relation to the club he’s now joining, and at a reported £12m he is a very good signing.

When the season ended, defensive improvement was clearly a priority for Brendan Rodgers.  Because Liverpool play such an attacking brand of football, their back-four wasn’t scrutinised nearly as much as a it should have been in 2013/14 and one or two players escaped a brutal judgement that they probably deserved.

Of the available centre-backs, only Martin Skrtel showed himself to be to equal to the club’s current aspirations, and objective one this Summer was to provide him with a regular partner who not only improved the unit’s general defensive capability but also suited the team’s style.  Rodgers has done that.  Dejan Lovren is an accomplished defender, potentially a dressing-room leader and, crucially, is also very good with the ball at his feet.  We all know that Rodgers favours a style predicated on possession, and so a centre-back who can distribute the ball decisively and accurately into the midfield was a must.

The full-back situation is slightly more complicated and there might well be an element of trial and error within that part of the side.  Glen Johnson is a very flawed player and he must surely realise that the addition of Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo makes him vulnerable.  Manquillo is a very raw player and, in addition to having no experience in England, his top-flight career in Spain was at an embryonic stage before he left on-loan.  But Brendan Rodgers seems to have a preference for players he can ‘form’ and he proved last season with Jon Flanagan that he’s not afraid to throw an unproven player into his side, just as long as that player is able to follow tactical instruction properly.

And don’t rule Flanagan out of the battle for right-back, either.  Yes, he’s done an admirable job on the left since become a first-team regular, but his preference would presumably be to switch to the other side and in so doing he would actually provide a more secure defensive alternative to Johnson.

Flanagan, Manquillo, Moreno…these are all young players who can be moulded into what Brendan Rodgers needs them to be.  Johnson is the odd one out; he’s coming to the end of his theoretical prime and he is still just as fallible as he was in his early twenties.

This situation isn’t quite ‘fascinating’, but it’s intriguing nonetheless.  Moreno will go straight into the first-team you would suspect, but the use of the other three - or the regularity of their respective involvement - is something to keep an eye on through the early months of the season.

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