Liverpool have been forced to see a number of exciting young prospects from their academy fail to make the grade at Anfield after their debuts, including the likes of Ben Woodburn, Jordan Rossiter and Sheyi Ojo who all showed great potential at the beginning of their careers.
Another youngster who didn’t live up to expectations was Pedro Chirivella, who made just one Premier League appearance and spent most of his time on loan with Go Ahead Eagles, Willem II and Extremadura.
He made his debut aged 18 in a Europa League clash with Bordeaux, and didn’t look out of place but things didn’t pan out after that.
He was only able to make ten more appearances for the club, where he once claimed he wanted to “disappear from Liverpool“, before signing for Nantes in French Ligue 1 on a free transfer – where he now considers home.
“When Nantes came, Christian Gourcuff spoke to me,” Chirivella said about the transfer. “He gave me a lot of confidence.
“When I spoke to [Jurgen] Klopp about this possibility, he told me to go for it, that Ligue 1 had great potential for the future.
“These words stayed in my head, I made that choice and today, I absolutely do not regret it.”
Supposedly once dubbed a “joke” at Anfield, the midfielder has turned his career around in some style. For instance, during his last six games for Nantes, he has averaged a 7.28 match rating after a string of impressive performances, including against giants Paris Saint Germain, who they beat 3-1, with Chirivella impressively completing 12 of his 14 long ball attempts, 100% of his dribbles and making two good interceptions.
Among defensive midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues and continental competitions, the 24-year-old ranks in the top 10% for passes into the final third per 90 (6.47), top 2% for fewest miscontrols per 90 (0.30) and top 5% for the fewest number of times being dispossessed per 90 (0.42).
He has also demonstrated his ability to press high up the pitch effectively for the high flying French outfit, ranking in the top 11% for tackles made in the final third per 90 (0.42) and in the top 25% for pressures in the attacking third per 90 (3.72).
The player that Chirivella has become would most definitely be able to offer Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp another Premier-League level option as an alternative defensive-minded midfielder to Fabinho – who gets a lot of minutes due to being the most naturally-suited current Reds player to that role, and it might not be too unlikely that we see the Spanish midfielder return to the English top flight one day in the future.
It’s safe to say he has proved those who didn’t rate him at Anfield very wrong.