Alberto Moreno had a horrible debut in English football. His mistake against Manchester City on Monday night change the momentum of a game which Liverpool were more than holding their own in and that’s a tough cross to bear for a young player. Errors are an inevitability in football, so it’s the response to the mistake rather than the mistake itself which is really the mark of a player - and Moreno showed his mental toughness yesterday and produced a really strong performance at White Hart Lane.
His second-half goal will be what people remember from yesterday, but it’s worth bearing in mind just how solid Liverpool were down his side of the pitch and just how little impact Tottenham managed to exert in that area. That’s underrated; had Brendan Rodgers had fewer injuries, he might well have taken Moreno out of the first-eleven for this game - fragile confidence can lead to passive, inhibited performances and that usually precedes defensive mistakes. Spurs may not have played that well yesterday, but that was really because Liverpool did an excellent job of restricting them and of containing their attacking fluidity with defensive discipline. That’s not easy: when players drift around the front-third and switch positions, full-backs can become very vulnerable and can easily lose track of attackers who move beyond and behind them. That didn’t happen to Moreno at any point, and there was really a point during the game when he looked vulnerable in any way.
Before he arrived in England, the were no doubts about his ability to raid into the opposing half and create opportunities, but there was a query against his defending - and to put in that kind of performance just five days after his experience at The Etihad is hugely encouraging. We knew he was a good player, but now we know that he’s a tough one, too.