However, a horror in the 2016 Europa League final against Sevilla was followed by a difficult afternoon against Arsenal on the opening day of the 2016/17 season, with the Spaniard losing his place to thwart James Milner soon after, Klopp preferring to play his vice. -captain out of position after failing to sign Ben Chilwell from Leicester City.
At the time, his decision raised eyebrows with the German forced to defend Liverpool’s transfer position.
“Maybe I should read more newspapers?” Isn’t the world happy with our left-back? he said after his team’s victory over the Gunners. “The most comfortable situation is if you have three players in each position. If someone gets hurt, you have yet another option. It is not about risking a position.
“If we had found the perfect fit, with everything around it – it’s not about the money, just the style of play, the defensive skills, the offensive skills, the technical stuff – if we had been able to find that, you would have known because we would have made the transfer.
“We have a lot of players, in our opinion, who can play our style of play at the left full-back. I’m sorry that not everyone is happy with Alberto Moreno. Milly can play [there], you saw the Barcelona game.
“I spoke to him, I don’t want to force a player into a new position, I need the player to be convinced.
« [Nathaniel] Clyne played it, we have a wonderful young player in Trent Alexander-Arnold who can play on the right side. Ragnar Klavan in a very defensive way can play the left-back.
“We can take another one, but only if he’s the guy we want.”
To Milner and Moreno’s credit, the Reds vice-captain has never left his side in the role although he’s pretty open that it’s not his favorite position, while Moreno has made it into enough to regain his place the following year and improved a lot in the role for the first half of the 2017/18 season.
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It is often forgotten that the left-back’s form actually earned him a recall to Spain that year, only for an injury that put his Reds career to a halt in its tracks. Andy Robertson came in in his place, having signed from Hull City the previous summer, and hasn’t looked back since.
In fact, the Scotsman has barely missed a game since and alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold on the opposing flank he has established himself as a crucial part of Liverpool’s style of play under Klopp.
Moreno missed the last 18 months of the contract with minimal opportunities but minimal hassle before leaving for Villarreal on a free transfer as a Champions League winner last summer.
And with Robertson rarely missing a game and Milner proving he’s a competent substitute when needed, Klopp again resisted hiring a replacement for the Spaniard last year.
However, such has been the success of Liverpool’s No.26, the left-back has once again become a problematic position with unnatural cover options now unable to match his dazzling heights when absent and underscoring the need for further option in reserve.
Back in 2016, before the Reds’ tactical transformation and at a time when they were just trying to qualify for the Champions League, Liverpool may have had plenty of players who Klopp believed could play in his style of play at the back left.
But now they are the champions of the Premier League, Europe and the world, reaching new heights with every game that passes.
Kostas Tsimikas transfer news
Milner is indeed still an option, but at 34 he’s not getting any younger and is still naturally inclined to intervene on his favorite right foot.
And as such, Klopp decided to do something he had resisted twice before. Sign a replacement for Alberto Moreno.
Konstantinos Tsimikas is now set to move to Liverpool for £ 11.75million from Olympiacos, becoming their first signing of the summer and providing something that has rarely been available to the Reds in recent years. A natural deputy at the back left.
For Liverpool to make such a move, they need to be sure that the Greek is ‘perfectly fit’ and able to deliver the ‘style of play, defensive skills (and) attacking skills desired’.
Klopp will finally have three dream options at left-back, and having chosen not to make such a transfer in the past, after four years of waiting, he has finally found the man he wants.
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