To the dismay of their fans, Liverpool seem to have resorted to their old ways as after a fantastic start the year, which saw them firmly establish themselves as the main contender to challenge Chelsea’s supremacy at the top of the League table. They were scoring goals for fun and although there was a nagging doubt regarding their defence, their ability to outscore teams made sure that the doubts were pushed aside to the back of the mind.
Before the start of the season, the immense doubts regarding Alberto Moreno’s capabilities as a left-back were brought into question and there was an overwhelmingly popular consensus that Klopp should be targeting left-back as an area which should be bolstered. Moreno’s tendency to completely forget about defending and his penchant for being directly involved in a number of incidents leading to a goal conceded led to a sharp decline in his reputation.
Liverpool were linked with a number of left-backs throughout summer and it was always a moment of when and not whether as the days went by. But Klopp pulled a major surprise when he decided against investing in one. As the season started, though, it was pretty clear what was on his mind.
The everyday handyman, James Milner was to step up and in as a makeshift left-back and it was expected that his professional attitude and his immense experience will make him a success in the new role. And against all odds, at this stage in his career, James Milner has shown why he is so highly rated in footballing circles, despite his seemingly limited capabilities. And given the penalty duties as well, he was soon one of the best left-backs in the league. Strong in defence and a honed reader of situations, he managed to ably shore up the left wing while supporting regularly in the attack.
But it was widely believed that it would be a stop-gap role and although his success might have prolonged his role for the entire season, injury permitting, there will be additions in due course of time.
And despite Jurgen Klopp’s futile claims of not wanting to invest in a left-back, Liverpool have now been linked with Real Betis left-back, Riza Durmisi.
Durmisi has established himself as a first-team regular at Betis, since his £1.7 million move from Brondby in the summer, making 14 appearances in all competitions, including 12 La Liga starts.
The 23-year-old, born in Copenhagen, is also able to perform in a more advanced role in midfield and is both defensively adept and strong in his delivery from out wide. He will fit in perfectly well with Liverpool’s policy of investing in young players and Klopp will have ample scope of moulding the player and enhancing his reputation.
With Milner showing clear signs of fatigue and Moreno not enjoying his manager’s confidence, there is a need to bolster their options, given the likelihood of Liverpool playing in next season’s Champions League pretty high.