In the nineteenth century, a "liberal" believed in free speech, social mobility, limited government and strict property rights. The term has since been appropriated by those who, while sometimes still believing in limited free speech, always support strong government and weak property rights and who see everyone as a member of a class or group.
Conservatives have always tended to believe in strong government and nationalism. Bismarck and Metternich were archetypes. Today's conservatives are sometimes seen as defenders of economic liberty and free markets, although that is mostly only true when those concepts are perceived to coincide with the interests of big business and economic nationalism.
Locating political beliefs on an inaccurate scale, running only from left to right, constrains political thinking. It's like trying to reduce chemistry to the elements with air, earth, water and fire.