On this day in 2013, Victor Moses made his debut for Liverpool – here is a look at his time with the Reds and how things unfolded afterwards back at Chelsea.
Looking back to the summer of 2021, an incredible 510 transfers (including loans) were conducted by teams in the Premier League. Top of the tree were Chelsea, who made 42 transactions. What makes their total even more remarkable is that they only signed three players, meaning 39 went through the Stamford Bridge exit door.
There were several headline makers among them. Tammy Abraham moved to Roma to play under Jose Mourinho, Fiyako Tomori also switched to Serie A with Milan, while Marc Guehi and Kurt Zouma joined other clubs in London in search of regular football.
The list goes on. Looking down at the almost four starting XIs-worth of players who left Chelsea that summer, one name suddenly stands out: Victor Moses, £4.3m to Spartak Moscow, sealing a permanent move after a successful season-long spell there.
Victor Moses was still at Chelsea? Yes, believe it or not, nine years after moving from Wigan to west London, the Nigerian international was still on the books. His nomadic career saw him join six clubs on loan following his arrival at Chelsea, and Liverpool were the first of them in September 2013.
At the time it looked a sensible acquisition by the Reds. Luis Suarez was serving a suspension for biting Branislav Ivanovic in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea towards the end of the previous season, while Raheem Sterling had yet to establish himself as a someone who started every week.
Indeed, when the Reds were first in action following Moses’ arrival, away at Swansea City – on this day back in 2013 – the loanee was on the left of the attacking midfield trio in Brendan Rodgers ’ 4-2-3-1 formation while Sterling was on the bench.
Liverpool’s new number 12 appeared to hit the ground running for the club. He created three goalscoring opportunities in the opening half an hour – including a clear-cut chance for Daniel Sturridge – and then gave the Reds the lead in the 36 th minute.
If any Kopites were sceptical about his potential, the goal would have lessened their doubts. Moses intercepted a Jonjo Shelvey pass on the half way line and dribbled through to score from the edge of ‘D’ outside the penalty area.
But Moses’ first appearance proved to be the highpoint of his time with the Reds. He started the next five matches in all competitions, taking six shots and only creating two chances across the four league games in that spell.
While he continued to make substitute appearances, Moses’ fate at Liverpool was effectively sealed in the first two weeks of December. He started what was the Reds’ worst performance of the campaign (a 3-1 defeat at Hull City), then Sterling scored in three of the next four league matches to cement his spot in Rodgers’ team as the second half of the season loomed into view.
The on-loan winger was in the side for a couple of FA Cup games in January, opening the scoring at Bournemouth in the final Liverpool match for which he was part of the starting X
Thereafter, much like fellow summer signings Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas, Moses was largely overlooked by Rodgers. The Liverpool manager insisted Moses had a part to play when challenged about it in January 2014, but that didn’t prove to be the case.
Could he have been more useful in the Reds’ league challenge? They won most of their matches in the run-in, though he was an unused substitute for the draws with Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion.
As he was ineligible for the loss to Chelsea, the only other match Moses featured in from which the Reds didn’t take three points has gone down in legend as Crystanbul, and even then, he only played the final four minutes of the 3-3 draw – missing a great chance in added time.
Could it have put a different slant on the title race had he scored? We’ll never know. But at the time, The Guardian’s coverage said: “With the goal gaping, Victor Moses kicks fresh air as he tries to boot it home with his left foot”, while another report said he mis-kicked “with the goal at his mercy as Speroni flapped”.
One thing is for sure – after the explosive start to his brief career with Liverpool, it remains hard not to wonder if it should have worked out a lot better for both Moses and the club.