Liverpool: Why Luis Alberto Will Suit Brendan Rodgers' Anfield Team
Brendan Rodgers' restructuring of the playing staff at Liverpool looks set to continue apace this summer, and the latest name in the frame for a move to Anfield is that of Luis Alberto.
The Sevilla attacking midfielder, who has been on loan to Barcelona's B team this season, is reported to be close to a £5 million transfer to Liverpool by Daily Mail, in a deal which could rise to £8 million.
It's far from a done deal at present, but it seems Rodgers has his sights set on the young attacker, and he could prove a solid addition to the squad. Here's why he could be a great fit at Anfield.
Youth and Potential
Much of Rodgers' work thus far has been to integrate young players in the Liverpool first team.
No less than seven Academy graduates made their senior debuts for the Reds during 2012-13, with Jordan Ibe the last of those when he appeared against Queens Park Rangers at the end of the campaign.
Suso, Andre Wisdom, Adam Morgan, Samed Yesil, Jerome Sinclair and Conor Coady were the others, while Raheem Sterling had only made a fleeting handful of appearances prior to this term.
Aged 20, Luis Alberto would fit right in with the youthful group at Rodgers' disposal—old enough to have gained some significant playing time in Spain so far, but also young enough to have a lot more time to progress and reach his true level.
The Reds want to bring in players they can improve and who can help the team get better year on year; Alberto would help in this regard.
Ability and Versatility
Luis Alberto plays primarily from a central attacking midfield role, or from the left of the attack. He can play in either one with great effectiveness, though his style is arguably more suited to a central attacking role, where he is able to make late runs into the box and dictate play to support those ahead of him.
His performances for Barcelona B have indicated that he has the ability to play in a bigger side already, and certainly above the Segunda Division level.
It might not translate to an immediate starting spot in the Premier League, but he can be an asset to the squad and find his best role over time.
Consistent passing and control of the ball are his best talents, though his ability to line up more or less anywhere in a supporting attacking role will also be to his benefit.
Tactically Used to Playing in Similar Set-Ups
Barcelona B usually line up in a 4-3-3 system, while Sevilla have for a long time opted for formations along the lines of 4-2-3-1. In Alberto's preferred position through the centre, there wouldn't be too much for him to adapt to coming into Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side, which has most recently played something of a hybrid of the two systems.
It might be that next term the Reds adapt to a more regular pattern with their starting 11 more shaped to Rodgers' liking, but either way the central attacking midfielder plays a key role, and Alberto's ability to play there and dictate the attack will make him a good fit.
In addition, if he operates in the left-sided forward's role at all, he is already adept at moving infield to shoot or create chances with his right foot, much as Rodgers has asked the likes of Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, Fabio Borini and most recently Ibe to do this past year.
Won't Break the Bank, but Could Offer Great R.O.I.
Whether the fee turns out to be £5 or £8 million, or somewhere in between, it won't be a deal which puts an end to Liverpool's spending. It's a reasonable outlay for a talented youngster these days—one which could be quickly forgotten if he fails to make a huge impression over a period of years, or one which might be seen as a bargain if he does well.
Coutinho was signed for not much more than that and already looks like a steal, so if Rodgers has identified someone who could have a similar impact over a couple of seasons, then the Reds look set for their attacking options from midfield for some time.
Two or three years from now, if Alberto is a regular starter in a successful, challenging side, he will almost automatically be worth at least double what the Reds sign him for.
Over time, it could easily turn out to be the best value deal Liverpool come up with this summer.