20 Oct 2014

£12m mystery: After QPR fiasco, BR brings 'fantastic' star back to LFC. Injury nightmare, or rested?

For whatever reason, £12m summer signing Alberto Moreno was missing from LFC's squad for Sunday's 3-2 victory over QPR, and (usually), when a player suddenly drops out of sight, it's usually due to an unannounced injury. The plot has thickened today, with the Reds taking steps to provide cover on the left, which suggests that that LFC's injury problems could be about to get worse.

Last week, Spain U21 boss boss Albert Celades dropped Moreno for Spain's Euro qualifier with Serbia, but after the game, he dismissed rumours of an injury. He told Spanish newspaper AS:

"Alberto Moreno has nothing; there was no physical problem or anything preventing him from playing. It was a technical decision, because we thought that, coming into this match, Gaya was better in that position".

Well, after missing the weekend victory over QPR, Liverpool have now recalled teenage left-back Brad Smith. In an official statement on Swindon's website, boss Mark Cooper explained:

“Brad Smith has been recalled by Liverpool...and we can’t do anything about it. He’s very quick, he’s a great lad and I’m sure he will go on to have a fantastic career in the game. Hopefully in the future we’ll have the opportunity to bring him back".

There's no indication here that Smith is injured, and/or being recalled due to lack of game-time/impact, so the obvious answer is that the youngster is being brought back for cover purposes. As such, Moreno may be injured, and Rodgers will probably shed some more light on that in tomorrow's press conference.

Another injury will be a big blow for Liverpool, especially for Moreno, who is one of the Reds' better defensive performers this season (which, admittedly, isn't saying much!)

Even if Moreno is injured, I personally don't see the wisdom in bringing back Smith. Liverpool have Johnson, Manquillo, and Enrique - surely that is enough to cover the full-back positions for a few weeks? Smith will probably sit on the bench, and make the odd sub appearance, but that won't help him as much as playing regularly at Swindon.

That said, Jose Enrique had a nightmare against QPR, and Rodgers will not have been impressed with his long-ball antics. According to OPTA stats, 23% of the Spaniard's passes were long-balls (the highest in the team), and he achieved a pitiful 58% passing accuracy rate.

With that mind, Smith's recall is partially understandable.

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54 comments:

  1. To those who commented on this article already - a Disqus glitch means the comments have disappeared. Sorry about that.

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  2. Could be simply more tinkering from BR- don't expect much from Madrid game- could be very bad am more worried about Hull game

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  3. Nooooo! I'd posted the cure for cancer here for safe keeping.

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  4. I think this is more to do with the significant amount of games upcoming, especially without Flanagan already.


    It'll be nice to see Rodgers use some depth for a change.


    If Stevie plays tomorrow against Real, we should not see him until the Newcastle game, in my opinion. He's been playing too much of recent, and we need the fresh legs. I'm expecting Can to help in that regard.


    Curious to see the rotation that Brendan over the course of the coming weeks.

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  5. Enemyofeverydisbeliever7:33 pm, October 20, 2014

    Well seems like bales out for wednesday.. At least wont be 0-7 just four five probably! Im so ashamed to watch that game, almost certain it will be a CL record breaker.

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  6. No-one is forcing you to watch it.

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  7. Enemyofeverydisbeliever7:36 pm, October 20, 2014

    Yeah thats the best thing actually.. Yet I could watch the first half!

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  8. James Pearce said that Moreno was simply being rested for Real. I'm willing to believe that since you wouldn't want tired full-backs going up against Bale and Ronaldo (we've since learnt Bale won't feature).

    Perhaps the Smith recall was precipitated by Enrique's dismal performance yesterday.

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  9. Might as well not watching any other game this season, because we might play badly in some of them as well (heaven forbid).

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  10. Enemyofeverydisbeliever7:39 pm, October 20, 2014

    Football wise, Id love to get a long sleep from now until May.. Would be perfect.

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  11. grab your calendar and pencil in a 7-month addiction to heroin. football will drop down on your list of priorities. Then you can get yourself clean and pop back for 2015/2016.

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  12. Enemyofeverydisbeliever7:45 pm, October 20, 2014

    Maybe that would be better than watching lovren markovic balotelli lambert mignolet johnson week in week out!

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  13. thought that it could be the reason, and that would definitely mean the end of enrique at liverpool if brendan would rather call back a 20yo in the squad than trust him to step up.

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  14. agree completely, a lot of sense spoken here

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  15. I learnt about this on This is Anfield and was really scared but then saw him giving an interview to some Spanish radio station saying how much he was looking forward to Madrid. i think disaster has been averted. Two questions for the game - Johnson or Manquillo and who to play as striker.

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  16. But the problem is that at the moment, he is the only one with any sort of composure on the ball. Nobody else can even pass it. We were overrun by QPR and Hull have an infinitely better midfield so we could be in some trouble.

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  17. Time to see what Wisdom can do against quality opposition..

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  18. Or United. I'd he starting.

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  19. Great ball. He has some quality and can definitely be useful in the future

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  20. Manquillo should never have been dropped. Johnson is woeful.


    You mean who to play as the strikers. If we go one up top I am not even going to bother watching.

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  21. At this rate no one will be watching. Who's going to tell us the score?

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  22. Not watching it. In work, being sneaky. Is it his assist?

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  23. Mate, I know how you feel. We all want Rodgers to play two up top but from the look of things, it is not going to happen or if it does, we ruin the other parts of the team( re Gerrard and Lucas at WHU).

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  24. Yes.. Pull Back and great finish.. Highly doubt Johnson would have been able to pull it off.

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  25. I am going to be watching. For the first time, we would be the underdogs. No one on this planet expects us to win. Madrid fans are just focused on the Clasico. If we lose, it was expected but if we win, the complexion could change.

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  26. We were slaughtered because both Gerrard and Lucas started the match. At least Rodgers came to the realisation that playing those two in the same team is like committing suicide.


    I think after the first half of the QPR match Rodgers finally saw the light when we switched to a front three. If we had stayed with Balotelli up on his own we would never have scored.

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  27. I just hope he does not play those two against Madrid otherwise it would be a cricket score. I think Lambert should play for his work rate so Lambert and Balo for me.

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  28. We need more movement upfront which Lambert will not bring. I would play a front three of

    Sterling--Borini--Balotelli


    Not sure why Rodgers did not bring on Lambert vs QPR though.

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  29. If that is the case than, who should play Coutinho or Lallana. Lallana can work but Coutinho is in high spirits. I think the key to the game is Luka Modric. We have to shut him out and if we can, we have a chnace. If we sit and let him dictate, it will be a long night.

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  30. At this point, we have to assume that we're going to give up goals, so we might as well play the best formation to score.

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  31. So do I. Based on no logic or anything but I do.

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  32. this team:

    ..............................................lambert

    lallana................................... coutinho................henderson

    .....................................allen...............gerrard

    moreno..........................lovren.............skrtel...........johnson

    ...............................................mignolet

    raheem sterling can be rested to avoid burnout and is a good weapon off the bench

    coutinho can do serious damage as real do not play a fixed holding mid

    henderson and lallana can help full backs with ronaldo and james

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  33. Only if we bring stun guns and use them on the Real players................

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  34. I would this recall of Smith as the beginning of the end for Enrique. He was dreadful against QPR (as were others) and BR may have just seen enough out of him. Any damned fool can just flail away and kick the ball straight up on the air in their own back third. I remember only 1 good pass made by Enrique all game...........I am surprised his passing accuracy was as high as the 58% written in the article.

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  35. You, my friend, are a legend.

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  36. Manquillo for me

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  37. After that cameo on Sunday I reckon Coutinho's gotta start

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  38. Without that cure, I'm nothing.

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  39. How many weeks in and weeks out have you had to watch Markovic, Lambert and Johnson so far? All three have only featured in 3-4 games total... Have a little faith. YNWA

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  40. The way I look at it is that Johnson can’t be counted on to keep any sort of form running and Jose looks completely out of his depth, Moreno will be our 1st choice with Brad as cover, and BR may just drop Jose and Glen. That way you have Manq and Flano on the right with Moreno and Smith on the left, very young, very inexperienced but some great talent. I’d want to see Moreno getting a lot of time on the left, but Manq and Flano sharing time on the right, both are very talented but have different skill sets. Manquillo if we want to get forward, attack on the overlaps, get crosses in, or Flano if we are looking like 2 attacking fullback will leave us too exposed. Can’t wait for the Real game, I’m pumped! 2:45am kickoff tomorrow morning, can’t be missed though!

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  41. ---------------------------------------Mignolet-----------------------------------------

    Manquillo-------------Skrtel---------------------Lovren-----------------Johnson

    Henderson---------------------------Gerrard---------------------------------Allen

    Sterling---------------------------------Borini-------------------------------Lallana

    Why? Mignolet, Skrtel and Lovren are all we got (except if you prefer Jones and Toure). Manquillo is strong and fast and many of us thinking that he should play instead Johnson as a right back. Johnson for some strange reason is playing better as a left back (better than Enrique at this time anyway). Henderson and Allen can run and protect Gerrard that cannot give high level of energy anymore (but he is our most qualitative player even now). Sterling and Lallana are something like Skrtel and Lovren (all we got) cause Markovic isn't convincing yet. And Borini... is running all the time! Maybe he is not as strong as Rickie Lambert or as classy as Mario Balotelli, but he is younger and faster than Lambert and he has more desire and works much harder for the team than Balotelli. We are trying to steal something here, we can't face Real directly, they will destroy us... This eleven can run. Maybe they can hit as well..! YNWA

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  42. Maybe it's unrelated to Moreno and more simply a lack of trust in Enrique. He was truly terrible against QPR, far below his best and maybe Rodgers is concerned that he's no longer a viable option. So if Enrique is someone we'd planned on using, even if not frequently, and it now seems he's not able to produce the quality needed, then it follows logically enough that we bring someone else into the squad. It's really just about squad balance and if you have a player in the squad you need to be able to trust them. Maybe we've just seen the end of Enrique's Liverpool career, something that seems to be shared by many others based on the comments below.

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  43. Don't be so dramatic. When was the last time Liverpool shipped more than 3 goals against any team? Real are good but they are not that good.

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  44. I think the problem with Enrique is his lack of passing... So many times he slowed down the attack against QPR by just dribbling into the opposition aimlessly. He has shown some decent passing range in past games but if he can't make a quick pass to a teammate nearby then he slows down teams and is at odds with Rodgers' preffered style of play.

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  45. Liverpool Echo already reported on this BEFORE the match on sunday...they said he would be rested for the QPR game

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  46. Johnson will cut in and shoot with his left foot .. that's his only predictable trademark .. i hate to say that .. but many time he could have pass the ball in the box when he cut in from the right .. players running in expect his pass and he shoot all the time ;) Of cause his shots all not on target lol..

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  47. Saving him for Real Madrid?? You know he can't play 2 full matches in 4 days??

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  48. Yes we would like that, but we will all fall asleep before if you post much more silliness.

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  49. Probably true, sad thing is naming an individual as poor just at the moment is unfair as it is rife! I keep trying to work out where the catalyst lies!

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  50. When so many good players play badly, in different formations and different combinations, the blame has to lay on the manager's shoulders. I'm a fan of Rodgers, but I'd be much more comfortable if he brought someone in to help with the defence, because he's never really managed a team with a strong defence.

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  51. Did you see Can against QPR. Bloody amateur hour and too lazy to chase after a player who just took the ball off him. If him and Sakho played one on one no one would ever touch the ball

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  52. I understand what you're saying... We don't have many other options unfortunately.

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  53. Which is exactly why Rodgers has to go. 125 million spent, ten players brought in and still no one to pick from. Last summer was our moment. We were on a high. Right now we're sorry old Liverpool again who no one wants to join

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  54. you should consider a professional comedy career

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