As one Spanish midfielder arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2020, there was another under-the-radar departure who left for pastures new in the same window.
Thiago Alcântara’s shrewd acquisition made the headlines for Liverpool as the Covid-19 pandemic raged on, and his arrival has been a transformative one helping Liverpool’s midfield to evolve with his ability to control possession and dictate attacks.
However, at times it has been often frustrating, too. Injury niggles have tainted Thiago’s time in the red shirt of Liverpool and his latest setback is just another on a long list of injuries he has suffered since arriving at the club. It is also one that leaves Jürgen Klopp and his coaching staff in a bit of a crisis.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain already ruled out, Liverpool are certainly looking thin in midfield, and it is an area where the club are already short of options.
Fortunately, the transfer window is still open enabling Julian Ward to address the issue, and in order to solve it, the Liverpool sporting director should consider turning towards the Spanish midfielder who left Liverpool in the summer of 2020 when Thiago arrived.
Pedro Chirivella only made 11 appearances for Liverpool in total, but during the brief time he spent on the pitch, he often caught Klopp’s eye. After a solid performance against Everton, Klopp drew praise for the midfielder and waxed lyrical about his previous performance for Liverpool in the League Cup.
“Pedro played and in the first half against Aston Villa was probably the best player on the pitch,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com. “We watched it on television in Qatar and we were completely over the moon about what we saw there. It was very important.”
In the end, Chirivella left upon the expiry of his contract to play more regular first-team football in Ligue 1 for Nantes, and the 25-year-old has now established himself as a regular in the French first division helping his new side to lift the cup last season.
Composed on the ball and agile in defending ranking among the top 50 midfielders for successful defensive contributions per 90 via Wyscout, Chirivella’s best asset, like Thiago, is his distribution.
He ranked in the top 10 among U25 midfielders in Ligue 1 for passes made per 90 last season averaging 52.82 and made the sixth most progressive passes (7.79).
At 25 he is still young, and he has been a stand-out performer in the French division from where Aurélien Tchouaméni was a target for Liverpool earlier on this summer.
But amid an injury crisis perhaps Ward should consider a more familiar figure in Chirivella who already knows how to play in the club’s system and who could be available for a smaller figure than other more coveted targets on the market.