After the arrivals of Lambert, Can, Markovic and Lallana; the defensive holes in the squad had still not been filled despite it being the area of the squad that needed investment the most. However, it seems like patience has been a virtue with the defensive additions. Lovren eventually arrived after the deal seemed to be going off the boil and Manquillo will arrive seemingly after weeks of speculation. But it is the case of Alberto Moreno that shows Liverpool will stop at nothing to get their man for the price they want, no matter how long it takes.
After the move for the Spanish U21 left back seemingly broke down beyond repair, according to Sevilla’s president, Liverpool have gone back in and got their first choice left back target for the price they wanted. It looked like, at a stage, that the left back position would not be filled with the quality required to improve on Enrique or Flanno, with Bertrand and Davies both being heavily linked. In truth, the lack of a decent left back has been a constant thorn in the Liverpool squad; not since injury prone Fabio Aurelio have Liverpool had a quality left back in the starting XI.
Rodgers’ interest in signing Bertrand sent twitter into meltdown on a bi-weekly basis throughout the past couple of months, and you could argue that fans had a right to panic. The last English left back Liverpool signed was of course the abysmal Paul Konchesky, a poster boy for the dark era of Hodgson, Purslow, Gillet et al. Additionally, the Champions League winning full back did nothing to enhance his reputation in an inconsistent Aston Villa side. The failure to agree a fee with Chelsea for the left back meant Bertrand joined Southampton on loan, which was met with big sighs from many of the Liverpool faithful. Another left back that was linked was Swansea’s Ben Davies. However, Liverpool’s interest dwindled in the Welshman and he was allowed to join Spurs uncontested. This, if anything, proves that Liverpool were alway going to go back in for Moreno, who has to potential to make the left back slot his own in the Spanish national side. Although Bertrand and Davies are not bad signings, they are not exactly inspiring and you could argue they’re not as good as what we currently have at the club.
The full back position is a vital position if Liverpool ever want to be successful defensively, they have to attack with potency and defend with vigour. And that’s not anything any full back currently at the club can offer. None of Johnson, Flanagan, Kelly, Enrique or Robinson are Rodgers’ signings, with Flanagan being the only real one who has progressed under the Ulsterman. It is pretty clear Johnson has no future at the club, he looks shot as a defender and adds less and less going forward week in week out. Injury has hampered Kelly’s progression and unfortunately for the lad it looks like his time in the sun has been and gone. After being injured for most of last season, Enrique needs to prove his metal and needs to add more going forward as well as being consistently solid at the back. Robinson is only still in the Liverpool fold due to the lack of left backs in the squad, he won’t make it as a Liverpool regular. That leaves only Flanagan as a true long term prospect in the full back areas, and he’s still very raw as a player.
The signings of Moreno, and the promising Manquillo too, will ensure that Liverpool will improve their weakest positions, bringing in the first permanent full back signings since Enrique was brought in by Kenny in 2011. The failure to admit defeat, especially in the signing of Moreno, shows that Liverpool are ambitious and will do everything they can to get the very best young players into the squad without overspending. Like it or loathe it, price tags on players stick thanks to the media. Getting the best players for the best prices ensures that the players can play and develop without pressure, just look at £8.5m Coutinho. And the reluctance to walk away from the negotiating table shows Liverpool, in transfers, do not accept second best. Not anymore.