When Fabio Aurelio arrived on a Bosman from Valencia in 2006, he wasn’t first choice left-back; John Arne Riise was ahead of him in the pecking order. Three years later, he is still not first choice; Argentinean Emiliano Insua has skipped over him to start the majority of games this season. Why has this been the case? Aurelio has been hampered by niggling injuries at the start of this season and has not allowed him to establish himself as first choice on the left hand side of defence. With his current contract expiring at the end of the season, does the Brazilian deserve a new one to continue his stay at Anfield? Aurelio certainly hopes he gets an extension:
I feel very comfortable and my family is very settled here but I know that it all depends on what the manager and the club thinks about me, we had started talking before the end of last season but then I picked up the injury in the summer and since then there has not been any more contact. I just want to play at the minute before I think about anything else and we will see how everything goes from there.
A run in the first team is really what he needs to prove himself, and although there have been recent rumours that Benitez will offer him a new two year contract regardless to prevent him from leaving for free, the fact that Aurelio is now fully fit means he can now make a case for starting ahead of Insua. The Brazilian winger started at left midfield against Debrecen on Tuesday night, and also played there against Lyon in the home tie last month, but this has been forced on Benitez due to the injuries to both Albert Riera and Ryan Babel. Aurelio has also played in a defensive midfield role this season but failed to impress in a 2-0 defeat by Fiorentina in Italy.
It seems then that a bit part role for Aurelio looks to be on the cards this season. In my opinion though, he has the capabilities of dislodging Insua at left-back. Despite the fact that the young Argentinean has been selected by Maradona to play for the senior Argentina team this season, he has flattered to deceive on many occasions. Position wise he can be found wanting, and has been caught out square by pacey wingers more than once, allowing players around the back with a direct run on goal. He is however still young and will improve over time, but his performances have no doubt contributed to the sub-standard defensive displays that Liverpool have had these past few months.
The case for Aurelio to come in for Insua is pretty clear in my mind. Although he is not as commanding as Riise was at the back, Aurelio’s experience in defence still outweighs the young talent of Insua. He also has a lot more in his locker going forward, including fantastic crossing ability, and a left foot ideal for taking free kicks, (who could forget that goal against Manchester United in the 4-1 victory at Old Trafford last season?) It is not all positives for Aurelio’s inclusion however; he can have off days, testament to that was a nightmarish performance against Chelsea in the 3-1 defeat in the quarter finals of the Champions League last season.
Overall I do believe Aurelio is deserving of a new deal, which he may get in the coming weeks, he gives you options going forward as well at the back, and I would welcome his selection at left-back to give the side some much needed stability in difficult times for the club in general.