Luis Alberto is one of the biggest let-downs of Liverpool’s transfer record under FSG, due to his success since at Lazio, and the Spaniard regrets not giving his all at Anfield.
Believe it or not, given how low his profile was while on Merseyside, but Alberto is now one of the most outstanding midfielders in Europe.
This season, only six players across the world’s top divisions have recorded more assists than the 27-year-old, who has teed up his team-mates 15 times in Serie A.
Among that group ahead of him are Lionel Messi, Thomas Muller and Kevin De Bruyne, with his role at Lazio as crucial as those luminaries at their respective clubs; he is Simone Inzaghi’s linchpin.
He looks a changed man, having grown into his lanky frame and accented his face with impressive facial hair, but most eye-catching is the confidence and freedom he now plays with.
Alberto only made 12 appearances for the Reds following his £6.8 million switch from Sevilla in 2013, all in his first season on the books, with his sole assist coming in the 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham.
He spent time with Malaga and Deportivo on loan, and while there was initial hope of a chance under Jurgen Klopp upon his return in 2016, he was ultimately sold to Lazio.
Now, speaking to France Football, the midfielder has admitted he sees it as “a shame” that he was unable to show his potential at Liverpool, blaming himself “in terms of work and focus.”
“I think it’s a little bit my fault,” he said.
“I didn’t do everything necessary to be at my level in terms of work and focus. What I should have done at 20, I was only able to do it at 25.
“It’s a shame, I lost a few years. I’m 27 now. I’m trying to make the most of it and I think there’s a lot of time left to continue to enjoy myself.”
It is a shame, too, for the Reds, that Alberto was not given the opportunity to impress once he was part of Klopp’s squad, as despite training throughout the manager’s first pre-season he failed to feature in any friendlies.
Liverpool sold him to Lazio for just £4.2 million, though that fee should have now risen to £6 million and the clubs did agree a 30 percent sell-on clause should he depart Rome.
Whether he would have fit into Klopp’s system is unclear, with his measured style perhaps more suited to Serie A, and it could be that that first year set him back too much in terms of acclimatising.
“At Liverpool, I adapted well, but it happened bit by bit,” he continued.
He believes he had reached a “good level” by the end of the season, but the success of Brendan Rodgers’ side—and no doubt the jarring relationship between manager and the club’s recruitment—ensured that came too late.
Neither party should have serious regrets—the Reds are now champions of England and Alberto has found his home at Lazio—but it stands as one of the disappointments of that era.