With it being F.A. Cup weekend, the fringe players of the squad will most likely get a run out and be given the chance to impress. Particularly with the upcoming Merseyside derby, Rodgers will be looking to rest a few key players and a player who has looked in need of a rest recently in Phillipe Coutinho.
Alberto has not been given as many opportunities as he would have liked, but has shown glimpses of his potential when on the pitch. Unfortunately, for £7m, glimpses is not enough from a player many would have expected to have feature more, particularly given Ian Ayre’s claim that he was our first choice signing in that position.
What position that is though remains ambiguous. Alberto has featured from the left, a la Coutinho, and has also played in the middle as a number 10, but it seems as though Rodgers is unsure as to where his best position is.
What is clear is that he is an attacking player. His technique is exquisite and he has impressive vision, along with the ability to make incisive passes. In his last outing, against Oldham, although substituted at half time (somewhat unfairly), Liverpool’s best moments in the game came from his intelligent through balls.
Perhaps surprisingly, Alberto’s in-game intelligence seems impressive too. He knows when to press and when to hold his position, something that a lot of players take time learning. Alberto demonstrated this particularly well early in the season in the 1-0 win over Man Utd.
What is strange though is that Rodgers clearly trusted him in such an important game and yet has at times avoided giving Alberto a run out against lesser opposition, even when the game has been won by half time, thanks largely to Luis Suarez being Luis Suarez.
Hopefully, against Bournemouth, Liverpool will be comfortable enough to give him 90 minutes because as it stands, Alberto looks like a player in need of a chance.
Rodgers’ comment that he replaced Alberto with Coutinho in order to speed up the play suggests that an area Alberto needs to work on is moving the ball quicker. His decision making so far looks very good, but perhaps that’s because he is taking a long time making them.
Of course, that’s preferable to making the wrong decision and giving the ball away, but if Alberto can add an urgency to his play he may find himself getting more minutes on the pitch.
At the moment, Alberto is a player that Rodgers only looks to bring on when the game is won, whereas Liverpool are in desperate need of players they can bring on to influence a game that is in need of winning.
Against Stoke, Daniel Sturridge’s impact from the bench altered and won the game. Luis Alberto needs to take his opportunity and convince the manager that he has enough about him to come on and create and score goals. His stats, 11 goals and 17 assists from 37 appearances playing for Barca B, suggest he can do that.
Frustratingly, despite an outlay of around £15m on Alberto and Iago Aspas, neither have had much of an impact. What Alberto does have on his side though is time, though the return of Suso and the emergence of Jordon Ibe, alongside expected signings, may reduce the amount of chances he will get.
That is why games such as Liverpool’s F.A. Cup tie with Bournemouth are so important for Alberto, as there will not be many opportunities for chances from the start, and when he does get them, he will need to take them.
Potential line-up vs. Bournemouth: Jones; Kelly, Skrtel, Toure, Cissokho; Allen, Henderson; Ibe, Alberto, Aspas; Sturridge.