Fabio Aurelio column: Left-back benefits, Arthur and hardest opponents

AnalysisFabio Aurelio column: Left-back benefits, Arthur and hardest opponents

Published 18th September 2022

Fabio Aurelio assesses Liverpool's healthy competition at left-back, the recent arrival of Arthur Melo and answers your questions in his latest Liverpoolfc.com column.

I was impressed with Kostas Tsimikas again during Liverpool's win against AFC Ajax in the Champions League earlier this week. 

Obviously it was a shame Andy Robertson was unavailable through injury but we're really seeing the benefits of having such good competition at left-back. 

Getting more game time and having the opportunity to show what kind of player he is, you can see the increase in Tsimikas' confidence massively, and that'll be helping his performance levels.

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It wasn't an easy start to Tsimikas' career at Anfield in 2020-21, only making seven appearances. For all the importance of training, the rhythm of games at this level are completely different to sessions. You can be well prepared but without the games you can suffer, in my opinion.

It seems Jürgen Klopp is prepared to use both of his left-backs more than he did in previous campaigns. 

That can help push the levels of Robertson and Tsimikas even higher as both will want to be starting – helping the team at the same time. I see it as a win-win situation. 

Just watching Liverpool as a former left-back myself and interested fan, I really enjoy how this coaching staff uses their full-backs. It's certainly not what I was used to. If the right full-back went forward, you needed to hold more. 

But how often have we seen Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson both high up the pitch and even assisting each other? I find that really attractive as a player and it must be brilliant for those playing in these positions.

Liverpool's Brazilian family grows

I believe Arthur Melo is an interesting addition to this Liverpool squad, and it's obviously great the Brazilian legacy at Liverpool expands. I hope he has the same success as his compatriots. 

From what I know about him, he should fit really well in Liverpool's system. He's a player that likes to constantly be in the game, touching the ball, controlling the pace of play, liking to be dynamic – similar to what Thiago likes to do in a sense. 

I read Klopp highlighted Arthur's 'potential' shortly after he signed on loan. Here in Brazil, the expectations for him were really high prior to his move to Europe. He couldn't be in a better place to fulfil his potential than at Liverpool under this manager.

Of course, he'll need some time to adapt to the team and the Premier League. What I had to adjust to most was the intensity of the game. I had to learn to play more physical and think more quickly – without losing your technique, though. The pace can compromise your quality sometimes.

His adaptation can be helped massively by the many Brazilians and Portuguese speakers in the squad.

I was obviously Liverpool's first Brazilian player when I joined in 2006 and didn't speak any English. The Scouse accent was also a bit different to the one in our English lessons! 

Bolo Zenden helped me settle in a lot because I think he spoke four or five languages and had a bit of Portuguese as well. Mark Gonzalez and the Spanish players and staff helped me too.

Your teammates are so important to the settling-in process, and Arthur can count on some great ones. 

Mailbag

Michalis: My first favourite Liverpool team was the one during the period you were playing. Do you think that if we had the new scientific technology regarding rehab, nutrition and sports science, your injury record would have improved? It was a shame a player like you was affected by injuries...

I think so. I think if we had all this new technology and information, this would've helped me a lot. Although some of it was part of my genetics. But it would've helped me minimise those problems. I believe if I hadn't had many problems with injuries, I think I could've got to another level but unfortunately it didn't happen. Nowadays, I know a lot more about my body. I still play football now – still struggling with some issues but I suffer a lot less. With the technology we have nowadays, it would've been completely different. 

Who is the most difficult striker you played against? 

When I first came to Liverpool, I remember games with Bolton Wanderers were really difficult at the beginning. Kevin Davies was always on the right, so it was always a really physical test for me. That was really tough in that aspect. Playing against Chelsea and Real Madrid, Arjen Robben was also really difficult to play against. I would say both, to be honest. The experience with Davies was the more physical side of English football, while Robben was a really talented and quick player. 

Andrei: What made Liverpool FC unique for you, something that you didn't find at other clubs?

It's hard to put in words. The atmosphere you live in is not only the one inside the club but also in the city – going around the streets, talking to the people. All of that creates an atmosphere that, in my opinion, was different to the ones I experienced in other places – Sao Paulo, Valencia, for example.

Thanks for reading, 

See you at Anfield next week for the legends game!

Fabio

Aurelio was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Glenn Price

  • Watch Aurelio and LFC Legends take on Man Utd Legends at Anfield on September 24. Tickets are on sale now – priced at £27 for adults, £7 for juniors and £17 for over 65s – and can be purchased online here 
  • Premium tickets are available from £50 and hospitality tickets start at £130 – please visit here for more details
Published 18th September 2022