Jurgen Klopp believes that criticism of Alberto Moreno has always been unfounded.
Moreno started the season as Liverpool’s first-choice left-back, with summer signing Andrew Robertson rarely featuring.
The Spaniard played 12 of the club’s first 14 games in the Premier League, and all six of their Champions League group stage matches.
But an injury sidelined him in early December and he has played just once since – in the 3-2 FA Cup defeat to West Brom last month.
Robertson has made the left-back spot his own, but Klopp says criticism of Moreno was “never fair”.
“The way people talk about Alberto Moreno, I hope it has settled a little bit but it was never fair, that’s just how it is,” he told Liverpool.com.
“If you see Alberto Moreno training, there’s nobody in the squad has a shadow of a doubt about him quality-wise.
“He’s an unbelievably strong player and he didn’t deliver all the time, that’s true, but at the beginning of the season he was so strong for us.
“There was one game where he dropped and everybody was saying it was exactly like it was before.
“Obviously, life as a football player is not always fair, but in that time if we would have played Robbo instead of him – no chance to convince anybody, he was not ready for that.”
Klopp said he never doubted Robertson could handle the pressure eventually, however.
“We are already convinced when we sign the player; ‘Come in, we want you to make us stronger, if immediately, good, if not, then we have to work for it’,” he said.
“That’s why we have more than 11 players and, thank God, in the moment Alberto got the injury, Robbo stepped up. It was lucky to be honest, it was exactly the right timing.
“Now Alberto has to fight, no doubt about that, but we need two left-backs, we cannot go into the season with one.”