Why £16m Liverpool target may no longer be a priority for Rodgers

Alberto Moreno could reportedly join the Reds within days - but his signature is no longer the club's biggest worry.

Indeed, with the clamour for a new striker - and perhaps the less frequent calls to strengthen Liverpool's midfield - the now tediously lengthy transfer pursuit of the Sevilla full-back has diminished in terms of importance.

One look at the Reds' defence will tell you why.

Brendan Rodgers' side's problems at the back were well documented last term, with Liverpool's attacking philosophy being undermined by their inability to keep a clean sheet for the majority of the season.

But the situation is already different this time around - for two reasons.

Firstly, Liverpool have signed Javier Manquillo as cover for Glen Johnson. Secondly, Jose Enrique has returned to full fitness.

  TeamPosAccurate Crosses / appDribbles Won / appTackles Won / appInterceptions Won / appEffective Clearances / appAppsMins
José Enrique Liverpool DF 0.38 0.75 1.00 1.13 2.38 8 602
Glen Johnson Liverpool DF 0.17 1.59 1.79 1.72 2.41 29 2,521
Jon Flanagan Liverpool DF 0.09 0.65 2.57 1.74 3.26 23 1,898

As Opta stats show, the latter may prove vital for Rodgers this term. Going forward, his crossing is adept, while his defensive stats hold up reasonably well, too.

Should he struggle, with Manquillo now covering for Johnson, Jon Flanagan can deputise for Enrique, meaning the Reds no longer have a shortage of full-backs. Johnson can also play at left-back, while Manquillo's debut against Borussia Dortmund was filled with promise.

Spending £16m on Moreno, then, will actually make Liverpool's back line rather crowded - they already have an excess number of centre-backs.

The problem with investing so much in the Sevilla man is that, for his youth and promise, he is a left-back whose game is better suited to attacking than defending. As such, Enrique may be the better option defensively.

The argument that he is young and talented, meanwhile, means little when Flanagan is 21 years of age - a year younger than Moreno.

Now that Manquillo has arrived on Merseyside - and Enrique has re-arrived after a season of injury woe - signing a new left-back should thus no longer be such a priority for Rodgers. The only way to improve Liverpool's defence is through quality - not necessarily quantity.

While Moreno may still complete his move to Anfield within the next couple of weeks, as some reports suggest, the need to strengthen other areas of Rodgers' squad has now become more urgent.

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