Brendan Rodgers has been speaking about the two summer signings.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been talking about two of his summer signings – neither of whom have set the world alight at Anfield.
Both Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas arrived at Liverpool from La Liga clubs in the summer. Alberto – who was 20 when he signed from Sevilla – looked as though he was a player for the future but would spend a lot of time in around the first team environment, and get a few games – whilst Aspas would be the back-up striker to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge after a promising season for Celta Vigo last term.
Rodgers is quoted in the Liverpool Echo about the two players. On Alberto, he said: “It’s probably been a difficult season for Luis because he hasn’t had many opportunities to make an impact.
“But he needs to keep working. He’s still a very young player and he does have quality. It shows you the level of where we are at.
“It was a signing for the long term, that was the idea. He’s a young player who has come in and sampled life at a big club and made a contribution."
On Aspas: “It’s been so difficult for him. He has a world-class striker in Luis Suarez for competition and another who has come in and done exceptionally well in Daniel Sturridge. Daniel is potentially world class and I’m sure we will see that over the coming seasons.
“But that has never stopped Iago working well every day in training. He has never given up the fight. He may have only come on for small periods in games but he has made a contribution."
A couple of Rodgers’ signings from the previous summer have seen game time elsewhere – notably Fabio Borini and Ousamma Assaidi at Sunderland and Stoke City respectively.
With the Liverpool boss wanting to review their situation in the summer, he will inevitably look at the amount of the games the players are likely to play and see if it's worth keeping hold of them.
Rodgers says Alberto is a player for the long term. As a result it could mean the Liverpool boss is happy for him to go out on loan to develop if it doesn't look as if he'll get more opportunities next season at Anfield.
At the start of the season Iago Aspas seemed to make appearances spanning about an hour at a time. He didn’t set the world alight – no-one should expect him to during his opening games at a new club but his chances have been severely limited that he has had to settle for cameo appearances – and his only goalscoring appearance against League One’s Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup, but being a little older limits the options a little.
Neither player has done much wrong when they have been given the opportunity, it's just a case of other players performing so well that they are keeping them out of the side, and that they're not up to the standard of the rest of the starting XI just yet.
Rodgers could end up improving them if he is patient, and if he likes their attitude. But the chances are if only one of them will end up becoming a significant member of the team it will be the 21-year-old Alberto rather than the 26-year-old Aspas.