Prior to Jose Enrique’s recent improvement in form, one area that you could guarantee Brendan Rodgers was looking to strengthen this summer is the left back spot – the manager himself even said so at the fans meeting in December.
We profile a player who could provide a solution and competition on the left of the Reds defence.
Position: Left Back
Price: €6m (£5.3m)
Aly Cissokho is a powerful French left fullback who is known for his speed, stamina, and, and teeth (more on that one later). He’s physically very similar to Jose Enrique; he’s fast, he’s strong, and he can dribble pretty well for a fullback. Unlike Jose Enrique though, he tends to read the game defensively and intercept rather than simply barging the opposition off the ball, and he doesn’t dabble on the ball when he should pass. His short passing is better than Jose Enrique’s but he’s not likely to thread through that through ball that Jose plays to Suarez.
Ultimately, they’re very similar players (Cissokho and Enrique) but Cissokho comes without the tendency to frustrate that Jose brings to the table. He’s also less likely to pull out the spectacular, which our current left back has done with some regularity this season. In attack, Cissokho’s stylistically similar to Jose Enrique in that he can dribble with pace on the touch line but he’s more likely to stay wide than run the channels as Jose Enrique does.
Valencia are well stocked at the left back position; even if Cissokho goes, they have Jérémy Mathieu who is a reliable performer who can be and has been the regular starter there. Mathieu used to be the first choice left back before Aly Cissokho arrived from Lyon for £5.3m. Given Valencia’s monetary situation, it might be possible to get Cissokho for about what they paid for him. He was once a Liverpool target, but I think we were put off by his medical issues:
Cissokho has some problem with his teeth that I don’t understand that has caused him to fail medicals in the past. Apparently something in his teeth indicates that he is likely to have spinal problems in the future. Because of that, a deal to Milan fell through (they were going to pay 15 million Euro) and his value has dropped significantly. He’s still probably worth that sum, but because of his problem, he’s worth substantially less. Its interesting to note that he rarely gets injured, though.
Here’s a video of him in action against Barcelona. Not easy to look good against those guys: