Left-back. It’s a phrase no Liverpool fan has liked hearing for years.
A problem position for as long as the Kop can remember in recent history, the Reds resorted to simply fielding a midfielder in that position last season.
James Milner did as good a job as anyone could have expected but, with Alberto Moreno out of favour, Jurgen Klopp will know Liverpool need a natural left-back if they are to progress next term.
So will this summer finally buck the trend at Anfield?
Liverpool’s need for a left-back has seen them linked to three new signings. In each case, the Merseyside outfit are the bookies’ favourites to land the player… which one should they go for?
Andrew Robertson – 8/11 with Sky Bet
The Hull City full-back has impressed in the Premier League and, much like departed boss Marco Silva, has come out with credit to his name despite the Tigers’ relegation.
At odds on, the bookies clearly feel the Scot is likely to link up with Liverpool this summer. Moreover, the Daily Mirror among others reported a Robertson move to Anfield as almost certain in May.
Going forward, Robertson should add plenty of value to a Klopp side where the full-backs are required to be some of the fittest members of the team. Nathaniel Clyne and Milner have both bombed forward regularly, covering huge distances for the Reds.
Robertson certainly looks capable of doing that. The only issue, however, may be ‘The Moreno factor.’ In other words, we all know Robertson can attack.
How good the Hull left-back can be tactically and defensively, though, remains unproven.
Verdict: Makes sense but success not guaranteed.
Aaron Cresswell – 9/4 with Sky Bet
Aaron Cresswell has a history with Liverpool, being released from the academy as a youngster.
How appropriate would it be for the West Ham full-back to come full circle and play Champions League football with the club?
As with Robertson, Cresswell has shown far more potential in an attacking sense than defensively. The Hammers faithful have constantly campaigned for Cresswell to become an England regular, but being part of a West Ham side that has conceded so often raises understandable questions.
Should the Reds come calling, the 27-year-old would no doubt add value for Klopp and his charges. But would Cresswell massively improve a leaky Liverpool back line?
The uncertainty makes him likely to remain at the Olympic Stadium.
Verdict: Another sensible move… but not ideal.
Gael Clichy – 5/6 with Sky Bet
While there may be much-preferred options out there such as Ryan Bertrand, Clichy offers a very realistic alternative in that he has been released by Manchester City.
Milner, too, faced the same fate and has grown into an integral part of Liverpool’s side – he isn’t vice-captain for nothing.
With Clichy, Klopp can turn to a man with both title-winning experience and Champions League know how. The 31-year-old has been there and done it both with Arsenal and City and could offer plenty to sides up and down the Premier League.
He has been dispensed with by Pep Guardiola but so too was Zlatan Ibrahimovic once upon a time – and Joe Hart. Clichy’s quality remains and the simple truth is that he would be Liverpool’s best left-back were they to sign him.
Verdict: The clear winner.
Written by Timothy Poole
Follow Timothy on Twitter @TimPooleSport
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