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LFC END OF SEASON SALE

Andy Robertson offers key presence, but are his days as a regular starter over?

The last time Andy Robertson played fewer games was his debut season at Anfield, 2023/24 was disrupted by a serious injury and now there are doubts over his starting position.

The Scot helped the Reds to a strong start this season before the dreaded curse of the international break struck to leave him sidelined for three months.

It robbed Jurgen Klopp of one of his most reliable assets, and by the time he came into his own once more, the team had dropped off significantly.

Andy Robertson, 2023/24

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 25, 2024: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates during the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra-time. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Started: 23 (All competitions)
On as a substitute: 7
Unused sub: 3
Goals: 3
Assists: 2
Overall Season Rating: 6.92

 

The injury that flipped his season on its head

Scotland's Andrew Robertson is helped from the pitch after picking up an arm injury during the UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying Group D match at the Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla in Seville, Spain. Picture date: Thursday October 12, 2023. Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA Images

Prior to the second international break of the season, Robertson started eight of the Reds’ first 11 games – sitting out for only Europa League and League Cup exploits.

He played the full 90 minutes in all of the abovementioned outings at a time when Klopp had little consistency in his backline with injuries to Ibrahima Konate and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Virgil van Dijk‘s two-game suspension was also thrown into that mix early on.

Robertson’s goal in the 85th minute at Wolves was hugely significant to continue an unbeaten league start, and he was proving a solid contributor once more at left-back, keeping Kostas Tsimikas at bay.

At Brighton, the final game before he would be sidelined for months, he was far from his best, failing to clear the ball from a free-kick allowed Brighton to take something from the match.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker is beaten as Brighton & Hove Albion score an equalising goal to level the score 2-2 during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That trip to the south coast on October 8 was the last time Robertson featured for Liverpool until January 28 – 21 games later – having dislocated his shoulder while representing Scotland.

He travelled to Dubai for his own warm weather training camp after two months of rehab in England, all the while Joe Gomez and Tsimikas spent more time in the starting XI.

 

Consistency at the end

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 21, 2024: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. Liverpool won 3-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The injury robbed the team of one of their key contributors during a long, taxing stint of the campaign that saw fitness issues mount up throughout the squad.

It is understandable, then, why Robertson was a player who had energy and looked up for the fight at the end of the season while others found themselves in quicksand.

A few niggles aside, the 30-year-old started 15 of the Reds’ last 25 games in all competitions and moved ever closer to his consistent best throughout.

Two goals in two games against West Ham and Tottenham ensured he equalled his best goal tally at the club (three), both showcasing his drive from the left of defence into the opposition’s box.

That is Robertson at his best, when he can create width, whip balls into the box and offer a threat against his opposite number – giving them something to think about instead of the other way around.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 27, 2024: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after scoring his side's first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As per FBref, only three players in Liverpool’s squad had more progress carries than Robertson across all competitions, and only six had more progressive passes – despite his long-term absence.

It showcases his influence in how the Reds attack the space and their opposition, which can not always be replicated with Gomez or Tsimikas.

He finished the campaign as one of the strongest and most consistent players, a silver lining to his three-month spell on the sidelines that his flame was still burning by the end of the campaign.

Robertson is one of the loudest voices in the dressing room and a presence you cannot find just anywhere, but how will Arne Slot view him?

 

Will there be a threat to his starting position?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's injured Andy Robertson before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

At 30, Robertson is now on the other side of the age bracket that the club do not typically extend new contracts to.

He remains an invaluable player to have and a lively personality to keep in the dressing room, but the new coach could bring new, younger, competition to his shores.

Robertson will not be pushed out of the starting XI, but debates over whether the club would be right to cash in on him this summer hint at how his role in the team is changing.

You do not want too much to alter in one summer, and you sense he is far too valuable on and off the pitch to green-light any move, but his minutes may just dwindle under Slot if a new left-back arrives.

His preference for short passes will suit the Dutchman’s system, though, and you sense he will be key in helping the transition in the post-Jurgen Klopp era.


Best moment: The delightful late winner at Wolves.

Worst moment: Dreadful decision to let Brighton‘s free-kick fly past him for the equaliser.

Role next season: Competing with younger counterpart but remains the heart of the team.