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Alberto Moreno is looking forward to being reunited with 'idol' Jesus Navas in Champions League tie... and is also glad to see Coutinho stay at Anfield

  • Liverpool play Sevilla on Wednesday night in their Champions League opener 
  • Full-back Alberto Moreno looks forward to playing against 'idol' Jesus Navas  
  • The defender was part of Sevilla's youth while Navas starred in the senior side
  • Moreno is also happy his 'best-friend' Philippe Coutinho is still at Liverpool 

Alberto Moreno will welcome back two friends to Anfield on Wednesday night, Jesus Navas– the winger he grew up wanting to emulate at Sevilla- and his closest pal at Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho.

'I missed him, he's probably my best friend at the club. I was very happy to have him back,' he says of the Brazilian.

He is also sympathetic of Coutinho who was caught in the middle of a summer transfer saga, happy at Liverpool but with the opportunity to join Leo Messi at the Camp Nou.

A young Alberto Moreno is pictured with his 'idol' Jesus Navas during his first spell at Sevilla

A young Alberto Moreno is pictured with his 'idol' Jesus Navas during his first spell at Sevilla

'It was tough for him,' he said. 'He had a bad time but it's over now and I know that he will give everything for Liverpool.'

Meanwhile, Navas' move from Manchester City back to his hometown club was one transfer that did go through. 

'I had a feeling we would draw them,' he says of the prospect of man-marking someone he grew up idolising.

'I have to treat the game as just another European match but facing him playing for Sevilla again will be special.

'There are pictures of me with him when I'm about 11 years-old having just joined the club. I grew up watching the Sevilla team that he starred in. They played with wingers and attacking full-backs. It was a great time to be watching them.'

Moreno will be reunited with Navas when Liverpool take on Sevilla in the Champions League 

Moreno will be reunited with Navas when Liverpool take on Sevilla in the Champions League 

Liverpool were beaten by Sevilla the last time they played them in Europe. A Europa League final that did not go well for Moreno. Liverpool have improved since then and the man his team-mates call 'Albie' has kept his place in that improved side.

He believes it was a major statement of intent when Liverpool resisted Barcelona's advances for Coutinho this summer. 

'It would be a dream for any team to have him but he stays with us. Liverpool said no and it meant no. It's just a huge boost. We have a lot of quality here now.'

The 25-year-old left-back remains part of that quality, part of Klopp's grand plan, although the signing Andrew Robertson from Hull was a reminder about the reservations some still have.

The full-back is also glad he can welcome friend Philippe Coutinho back to Liverpool

The full-back is also glad he can welcome friend Philippe Coutinho back to Liverpool

There are days when he can still look like a forward trapped in a defender's body, maybe that's why Klopp has never given up on him. Towards the end of his playing days at Mainz, Klopp – who had been a workmanlike striker – was converted to right-back by new coach Wolfgang Frank. He took to it well and some say became a better right back than he had been a forward.

'Whenever we play against the staff he's upfront scoring the goals,' says Moreno of his manager. Old habits die hard. Moreno still has the soul of a winger but Klopp has tried to ensure he learns to keep his head like a natural born defender.

'In modern football full-backs have to be an attacking force too,' Moreno says. 'But I know the first job is to defend. The idea is that we defend as a team and attack as a team. That is what the manager wants.'

 The Spaniard believes Liverpool keeping hold of the Coutinho is a huge statement of intent

 The Spaniard believes Liverpool keeping hold of the Coutinho is a huge statement of intent

Moreno was tipped for a move away from Anfield this summer after receiving criticism

Moreno was tipped for a move away from Anfield this summer after receiving criticism

Moreno and Coutinho are close neighbours in Liverpool and both have young families. Not every player survives the northern exposure after they leave Sevilla.

Temperatures in his home city are still in the high thirties in September and Moreno jokes: 'I never thought I would spend so much time indoors. I have a young daughter now and as soon as the sun comes out whoosh! We're outside before the weather changes again. But so what the sun doesn't come out and it rains a lot. I love Liverpool and I love being at this club.'

Several relatives are coming to Wednesday's game and he knows the return leg will be an even bigger family affair. Players usually get a couple of complimentary tickets for away games. He says he will have at least 30 requests.

They are the best fans, he says of the supporters of the two teams: 'Both the songs – 'You'll Never Walk Alone' and the Sevilla hymn make the hairs on the back of you neck stand up. I try to sing along to 'You'll Never Walk Alone' although the pronunciation still needs work. I think my little girl will end up speaking English better than me.'

Moreno believes he can get back into the Spanish national team if he plays well for his club 

Moreno believes he can get back into the Spanish national team if he plays well for his club 

It is the talk of a man who wants to stay and he even sees himself doing well for Liverpool as a springboard to a return to the Spain team: 'If I can play well this year then why not?.'

If he made it back into the Spain fold there would be another friend waiting for him in the shape of Sergio Ramos, another product of Sevilla football club, another great friend of Navas.

And speaking of Ramos. What's the tattoo situation Alberto? Anything to mark your time at Liverpool? 

'Not yet,' he says. 'I'm hoping that we can win something soon and I can get the trophy tattooed to mark the achievement.'

Moreno was part of the team that thrashed Arsenal 4-0 in their Premier League clash 

Moreno was part of the team that thrashed Arsenal 4-0 in their Premier League clash 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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