Luis Alberto: From Liverpool Flop to Lazio Star
Luis Alberto, who left Liverpool for €4m in 2016 and is now valued at €35m by Transfermarkt, has improved massively since leaving Anfield to join Lazio. This season, the Spanish international has scored 2 goals and provided 12 assists to date in the Serie A, an important factor for the Biancocelesti currently sitting in third place.
Luis Alberto’s statistics are now even better than Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne. When you look at someone like Jadon Sancho, who took the chance of going abroad to get more game time and is now possibly up there with the top players and wingers in the world, the same goes for Luis Alberto after leaving the Premier League. Even for De Bruyne, he left Chelsea for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga to become the player he is today, before joining Manchester City.
Lazio beat Juventus 3-1 last weekend with Luis Alberto playing an excellent game once again. He was arguably the best player on the pitch. Lazio struck a blow by inflicting the first defeat of the season to Juventus and a seventh consecutive victory that allowed the Romans to get closer to the top tier teams in the Serie A. Sitting in third with 33 points, they are only three points away from Juventus (second place) and five from Inter (first place). Should we consider them as candidates for the Scudetto? Why not, we are tempted to say.
Much of the credit for this success goes to manager Simone Inzaghi, who is able to keep his team in the upper reaches of the rankings despite a limited transfer budget. The numbers speak for themselves. The Biancocelesti have the second-best Serie A attack with 36 goals scored in 15 games, only one less than Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta. In achieving all these goals, Lazio can count on its aces in the finishing area. Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto are now the best top scorer and best passer of Italy in all five major European leagues. Luis Alberto is in a state of grace and although his tenure at Liverpool and Sevilla went rather unnoticed, the 27-year-old star is now shining bright.
With the verticality of Luis Alberto and Immobile and the power of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the Romans are able to counterattack in a brilliant way. Behind Manchester City, Lazio is the second European team that takes the least amount of ball possession time to enter the final 20 meters of the pitch. Add that to the defensive solidity and Lazio has the second-best defense in the league with insurmountable Francesco Acerbi (the only defender to have never been dribbled by at the beginning of the season). So, ultimately, there is something to be optimistic about.
In 1974, Lazio won their first Serie A title. However, the 1990s have been the most successful period in Lazio’s history; seeing them win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1999, and the Serie A title in 2000 – the second and last one in Lazio’s history to date. A third title is most likely not going to be for this season, but the fans can dream. In the meanwhile, the fans are enjoying a great season. Yet a question mark hangs over the ability of Lazio to follow the furious pace of Inter and Juventus. Lazio has a great team, but the substitutes do not seem to be of the same level. The objective of the club remains to be in the top four by the end of the season and a ticket for the UEFA Champions League next season.