Team Liquid have benched starting top laner, Barney “Alphari” Morris after their first defeat of the League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split. Liquid lost their first game of the split to TSM FTX, moving them down to third place in the LCS rankings. The roster move from Liquid comes just after Cloud9’s announcement of moving Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen to Academy.
Liquid’s head coach, Josh “Jatt” Leesman stated in a video posted on Twitter that they’ve decided to start Academy player, Thomas “Jenkins” Tran for the rest of the weekend, and possibly after. From the announcement, Jatt makes no mention of Alphari’s future with the team. but he made it clear the change may not be permanent. Also, Jatt stated their decision to bench Alphari had more details he could not make known to the public.
Alphari’s debut season before Team Liquid moved him to the bench
Team Liquid signed Alphari from Origen, now known as Astralis, in a deal reportedly worth $1 million per year. Even though Liquid failed to qualify for the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational, Alphari had an impressive debut performance. He finished the Spring Split as the best top laner in the LCS statistically and came second in the LCS MVP Spring Split Award. According to Oracle’s Elixir, Alphari had the most kills and best Kill/Death/Assist ratio for top laners. He also finished with the highest damage per minute and creep score difference after 10 minutes.
Aside from this, Alphari was instrumental to Liquid’s success for winning games during the Spring Split. The star top laner began the Summer Split with a rough game on the Lee Sin. However, it was his first game on the champion in the Summer Split and he performed well with a 2/3/9 KDA.
Nonetheless, Liquid have made their decision to give Jenkins a chance for, at least, the weekend. Their decision could be further extended depending on the player’s performance. Jenkins has been with the organization for almost three years and was a substitute for Liquid at the 2020 World Championships.
The 2021 LCS Summer Split has seen some changes as well as shocking results from the first day of the split. There is no current time frame as to when Alphari will return to Team Liquid’s starting roster.
Liquid return to the rift to face Counter Logic Gaming on Saturday, 8 p.m ET.