Modern football has changed the way full-backs are supposed to play. Tactical innovations and managerial demands are such that full-backs are now amongst the fittest players on the field.
They are asked to contribute to attack and defense, and have to be comfortable playing as a center-back or a wing-back if necessary. For clubs like Liverpool, their full-backs are among the main sources of attack, bombing forward and providing width and creativity.
The likes of Kyle Walker, Luke Shaw and Kieran Tierney have also been utilized as center-backs in a three-man defense this season, further highlighting the demands placed on the player.
There have some fine performances from left-backs this season. Without further ado, we look at the top 5 left-backs in the world this season.
#5 Kieran Tierney (Arsenal)
It is a little unfortunate for Scotland that two of their best players, Kieran Tierney and Andrew Robertson, are both left-backs.
A highly-coveted talent during his time at Celtic, Tierney moved to Arsenal in 2019 for a fee of £24 million. After a slow start to his Arsenal career due to injury issues, the left-back has established himself as an important cog in Mikel Arteta's set-up. A good crosser and a combative presence at the back, the Scotland international's leadership ability has also been appreciated.
The 23-year-old has also been utilized as a left-sided center-back in a three-man defense, predominantly for his country. If things go right, Tierney could soon find himself wearing the captain's armband at Arsenal.
#4 Jordi Alba (Barcelona)
Many believed Jordi Alba's time at Barcelona was coming to an end, but he has enjoyed a good season for the Catalan club so far.
Regarded as one of the best left-backs in the world during his prime, there were suggestions that Barcelona needed to upgrade on the left-back position after some subdued performances from Alba. The 32-year-old, however, has given a strong reply through his performances this season He has made 26 appearances in La Liga, scoring three goals and providing four assists.
The Spain international has managed to keep Junior Firpo out of the first XI. While there is no denying that Barcelona need to invest in a younger left-back, Alba has shown that he can still contribute at the highest level.