A makeshift Liverpool put in a spirited Champions League performance in their 1-0 defeat at Real Madrid on Tuesday night, with left-back Alberto Moreno among the side’s standout players.
Following the 3-0 defeat to Real at Anfield a fortnight ago, manager Brendan Rodgers opted to make seven changes to his line-up from the weekend’s loss at Newcastle United, with captain Steven Gerrard, Mario Balotelli, Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, Glen Johnson and Jordan Henderson all left on the bench, and Dejan Lovren not even among the substitutes.
The Northern Irishman denied his team selection was made with an eye on Saturday's home game against Chelsea, however, telling ITV pre-match: 'I think we've got a strong team out for the game.
'We're certainly not forfeiting the game in any way, we've got nine full internationals playing and two Under-21 internationals, so we've actually got a strong team.’
Moreno was thus one of the few to retain is place in the side from the game at St James’ Park, With the likes of Javier Manquillo, Lucas Leiva and Fabio Borini all drafted in, and the Spain international certainly impressed on his return to his homeland.
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Joining from Sevilla in August for around £12 million, following several weeks of drawn-out negotiations, Moreno has earned commendable reviews in his 11 appearances so far, standing out for his attacking output in particular.
However, the 22-year-old also showed glimpses of his defensive potential at the Bernabeu, helping stifle both former Reds defender Alvaro Arbeloa and James Rodriguez, and any remaining doubts about him being first-choice at his position moving forward now look to have been vanquished.
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More than familiar with Real from his time in La Liga, Moreno was in fact linked with a move to the Spanish capital earlier in the summer, but stressed last month before the two sides’ first Group B meeting that a switch was never in the works.
‘I knew that Liverpool wanted me but there were nothing from Real Madrid,’ he told IBTimes UK. ‘There were many stories on the press but everything was false.’
Liverpool fans are certainly glad he ended up in Merseyside instead, and will be hoping for more of the same when Jose Mourinho’s side visit on Saturday, as they bid to turn around their indifferent start to the season.