Liverpool midfielder Pedro Chirivella looks set to leave the club in the summer, with his agents reportedly in talks about a possible return to his native Spain.
Spanish media outlet Superdeporte reported that the 22-year-old’s representatives have spoken with Levante as they seek a new club for the player, whose contract at Anfield expires in June and who is unlikely to extend his stay on Merseyside.
Pedro Chirivella’s struggles at Liverpool
Chirivella was just 16 when he was signed by Liverpool back in 2013 and he appeared in a handful of first team matches in the 2015/16 season but his struggles for a genuine breakthrough at Anfield prompted loan moves to Go Ahead Eagles and Willem II.
Indeed, he went more than three years without playing in Liverpool’s first team before finally getting another chance in the Carabao Cup against MK Dons in the early weeks of this season. He became a regular presence in the side during the Reds’ domestic cup runs, though, and gave a distinguished performance in the FA Cup win over Everton in January. Having completed 62 passes at Anfield that evening, his display was lauded by a number of Liverpool supporters on social media.
However, with the Spaniard turning 23 next month and no sign of getting a second Premier League appearance any time soon, as well as his contract expiring in a few weeks’ time, his Liverpool career seems to be petering out to its conclusion. While he has featured regularly for the Reds’ under-23 side in recent years, he will soon be overage for that grade and he has long ceased to be a teenage prospect, so he may feel that his career would be best served with a regular diet of senior game-time elsewhere.
Chirivella’s loss could be Leighton Clarkson’s gain
In an interview for Goal.com, former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor identified 18-year-old midfielder Leighton Clarkson as a player to watch from the Reds’ academy ranks. He is well qualified to speak on the prospects of youngsters at Melwood, having watched the Reds’ youth teams regularly in his role as a pundit for LFC TV.
Clarkson came off the bench to make his senior Liverpool debut when a youthful Reds side lost to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup four months ago. He only played 13 minutes at Villa Park that night but still registered two shots – only one Reds player managed more in the whole game. He was then handed a first senior start in the FA Cup replay win over Shrewsbury, another night when a number of Melwood prospects represented Liverpool in a first team fixture.
Despite playing mainly as a defensive midfielder, the teenager has a fine scoring return at underage level, with four goals in eight appearances in this season’s Under-18 Premier League (as per TransferMarkt). Chirivella’s seemingly imminent departure could well see him fill the void that would be left in midfield for Liverpool’s under-23s and, should he impress in that grade, he might be handed further first team chances in domestic cup games next season.
Chirivella’s fortunes indicate how tough it can be for Liverpool academy players to successfully make the leap to the first team but his likely departure could open the door for Clarkson to force his way into the periphery of Jurgen Klopp’s plans over the coming months.
Liverpool fans, would you be sorry to see Chirivella go if he leaves in the summer? Do you think Clarkson could soon earn a few first team chances just as the Spaniard has done? Comment below with your views!