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Albie Moreno says he got stitched up by Liverpool after Europa Final - and Klopp should have stuck with him...
Moreno was famously terrible v Sevilla in the Europa League Final...
Ahh, Albie Moreno!
Nice to hear from you, lad…
The Spaniard is now at Villarreal, where he is recovering from a season which was ended prematurely with a nasty injury, but he’s spoken in length about his time at Liverpool and subsequent exit.
Moreno became a whipping boy for the fans, because simply, he couldn’t defend.
Looking back at it, the criticism was overly harsh, but his performance, alongside Simon Mignolet’s, cost us the Europa League Final back in 2016, whether he likes to admit it or not.
Moreno also reckons Jurgen Klopp could have stuck with him after that loss, instead of trusting right-footed midfielder James Milner at left-back instead - which again - is something that would have naturally hurt his ego!
“I still don’t understand the amount of criticism,” he says. “On the first goal they nutmegged me, sure. But I’m a defender. Players get past Sergio Ramos, the best centre-back in the world. Why can’t it happen to me?
“To this day I don’t understand why I got so, so much criticism, when the whole team didn’t play well. The finger was pointed at one player and …” Moreno shrugs. “I don’t think that’s OK. People blame you. Only you. It was like I lost the final. It’s hard. You can’t get it out of your head. You look at the paper, at social media – I don’t usually pay much attention to social media because it’s all so false – and read things. ‘Alberto, Alberto, Alberto, Alberto.’ I’ll go to my grave not understanding why I got all the blame.
“My relationship with Klopp was perfect and, with Unai, he’s the best coach I’ve ever had. He knows how to squeeze the best out of you, what to say at any moment, how to get the group to go out and ‘eat’ the opposition. But protecting me would have meant keeping faith, giving me chances which didn’t happen. I don’t know if that was Klopp or the club.
“After the final against Sevilla, James Milner played left-back. If the coach puts a right-footed central midfielder there, then he doesn’t want me. But the following year pre-season started and he played me. I got back in the Spain squad after three years and just then, I injured my ankle. That was when Andy Robertson had his chance.” Moreno gestures to the ceiling. “He played at such a high level and that was it; I didn’t get any more chances.”
Liverpool’s current issue left-back wise is in the form of Kostas Tsimikas.
He arrived to backup Andy Robertson for £12m and with a decent reputation, but it’s clear that so far Klopp has no trust in him whatsoever.
Hopefully in the summer he’ll get more chances in the friendlies, and then next season, might be able to occasionally come off the bench to help save the Scot’s legs!