Under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp Liverpool have allowed for much to admire, having clinched a Champions League title and emerging as runaway leaders in the Premier League this season.
The club have achieved such impressive heights, all despite having allowed a man who has turned into one of Europe’s finest attacking midfielders to leave.
This season Lazio have emerged as one of the most potent sides in Europe, going toe-to-toe with Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan for the Serie A title. Understandably, striker Ciro Immobile receives plenty of plaudits for his quite frankly ridiculous form — this season he has scored 27 goals and assisting seven more. However, a player that often goes undetected in his side’s recent rise is former Red Luis Alberto.
A player signed during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at Liverpool, Alberto offered much promise upon his arrival from Sevilla in 2013, but sadly never lived up to expectations and following two loan spells away from the club before being moved on permanently in 2016, joining the Romans.
Since departing Merseyside though, in what was a minor £4.3 million deal, the Spaniard has finally shown signs of fulfilling his undeniable potential.
Now appearing in the Italian side’s trademark sky-blue jersey, it certainly shows — the 27-year-old appears a reformed player full of confidence. Despite teammate Immobile being the poster boy of Lazio’s glittering form, Alberto has to be considered one of the finest attacking midfielders in Europe.
When it comes to assists, Alberto sits amongst illustrious company — including the likes of Lionel Messi and Kevin De Bruyne — as players who have managed 30 or more assists since the start of the 2017-18 campaign. The only difference is that Alberto remains a name not on many people’s lips, but that may soon change.
The development he has shown since moving to Italy has been quite frightening. Having previously been a player lacking in confidence and slight in figure, he now offers the contrasting look of a fearsome opponent for defenders.
Easy on the eye, Alberto can hurt opposition in an instant by gliding past clueless defenders, beating them with devastating passes, after which his teammates often finish the job. Having taken time to ripen, the maturity is clear for all to see — he has developed into midfielder of great technical talent, combined with a ruthless edge.
Predominantly right footed, he is a player who likes to operate across the left on occasions, an area of the field from which he has collected a large portion of his assists. Despite that, he has also provided for teammates from his own half, demonstrating just how dangerous he can be with the ball at his feet.
A player who really does pull the strings for Lazio right now, he has only missed one game this season in which his side sit second, level on points with leaders Juventus. In comparison, an injury-hit year for him last term saw Lazio finish eighth. Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not, but it points to his Alberto’s form and availability being key to the Italians’ success.
It begs the question — could he be a player that Klopp might have got the best out of?
Situations like this do arise in football. Take for instance Paul Pogba and his original spell at Manchester United — the Frenchman was deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, before flourishing after a move to Italy.
It is widely reported that the Reds inserted a 30pc sell on clause for if he should move on from Lazio. Should the club consider bringing him back instead?