Luis Alberto – First Team Material For Liverpool FC Or One For The Future?

With Daniel Sturridge out due to injury and the likes of Victor Moses and Raheem Sterling struggling for form, Luis Alberto may be Brendan Rodgers’ solution.

Luis Alberto - Liverpool attacking midfielder

Luis Alberto – Liverpool FC Attacking Midfielder (Source – Flickr)

Liverpool started their December campaign on a bitter note when the prolific Daniel Sturridge was ruled out for atleast a month with an ankle ligament problem. Their woes were compounded after a disappointing result at Hull City. The pain was masked, to an extent, after Suarez`s scintillating performance against the canaries.  Suarez has been Liverpool`s savior for the past two seasons, and he would be more than happy to see some of his team-mates step up a wee bit and help his cause to propel Liverpool into the top four. Luis Alberto is one such player.

There was some buzz around Anfield when Brendan Rodgers roped in Luis Alberto Romero, for a fee of £7million from Sevilla. The creative Spaniard caught everyone`s eye with his stellar performances last season for Barcelona B, on loan from Sevilla, where he notched an impressive 11 goals, providing 17 assists in 38 appearances. Alberto, however, has been a fringe player this season and has been eagerly waiting in the wings to grab the opportunity and state his case to get into the starting 11. Sturridge’s injury and Aspas’ lack of match fitness present him with the opportunity to showcase his talents and impress the Liverpool supporters.

Phillipe Coutinho- The only creative outlet in midfield

Liverpool fans would regard the disappointing loss at the KC Stadium as one of the worst ever performances under the management of Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool’s overall performance was lackadaisical, and there was no creativity whatsoever. The Liverpool midfield was under constant pressure, through Hull City`s endless pressing, and all they could manage was to pass it square or pass it back to the centre-halves without any creativity or flair in midfield.

Luis Suarez was left frustrated for the whole 90 minutes with no support from the midfield, and couldn’t save Liverpool from an embarrassing defeat. Henderson stepped into the number 10 role during Coutinho’s first half absence against Hull, and was flanked by Moses on the left and Sterling on the right. Lucas, as usual was the holding midfielder and Gerrard continued to play his role as the deep-lying play-maker. It has to be said that Moses and Sterling had very little to offer; with pace being their only asset and they lacked the tactical awareness, experience, and movement to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

Luis Alberto- Has he got the potential to thrive in the ‘trequartista’ role?

The trequartista, usually wearing the jersey number 10, will sit in a free role between midfield and the forwards, either in the centre of the pitch or on the wings. The player in the ‘number 10’ role makes incisive passes to the wingers or forwards, seeing them through on goal or to deliver killer crosses, as well as scoring goals themselves.

They are also usually highly technical players with good vision, shooting, passing, crossing and dribbling ability, known for scoring goals as well as providing assists and initiating attacking plays. The most important quality of a trequartista is the vision and ability to read the game, and also to be able to get into good positions making for effective reception and distribution of the ball. Intuition and creativity are other key elements of a playmaker’s game, as they need to know where different players are at different times, without taking too long to dwell on the ball.

Phillipe Coutinho has made the ‘trequartista’ or the number 10 role his own since signing from Inter last January and the team, more often than not, relies on him for the much needed creativity in midfield.

Luis Alberto, to be fair, has not had much time on the pitch to prove himself this season, but from what we have seen from his cameo appearances this season he is the perfect player to step into the number 10 role during Coutinho`s absence. Alberto is known for being equally proficient with both feet, combining strength, impressive ball control and vision to dangerous effect. Alberto can’t solve all of Liverpool’s midfield frailties on his own, but he at least has the composure and the footballing IQ to replenish the Liverpool midfield with much needed creativity.

Coutinho and Alberto in the starting 11.

Liverpool fans would be hoping to see both Alberto and Coutinho get some playing time together. They did play for 20 minutes or so against Hull, but that is far from enough to cause any real impact. Rodgers has been playing it pretty safe

Liverpool fans will be hoping to see Coutinho and Alberto in the starting 11

this season, by limiting Alberto`s playing time. This maybe due to the fact that Alberto is a bit light-weight and he might suffer on the physical aspect of the game, but he will be tempted to start Alberto sooner or later, just to see how he performs.

Alberto’s compatriot and former Barca colleague Gerard Deulofeu has just begun to shine for Everton after spending the initial part of the season in oblivion. Alberto would be hoping to do the same and make a similar impact for his Merseyside club. Liverpool fans have so seen many talented Spaniards grace the Anfield turf over the years, and they would be keen on seeing Alberto perform well and become a success at Liverpool. Alberto has complained about not getting much playing time, and would be raring to go if he is provided the opportunity.