Pedro Chirivella may have seen mixed fortunes during his time under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, but he has taken one key piece of advice with him after leaving Anfield.
The Spaniard was part of Klopp’s initial cohort of youth call-ups in 2015/16, but after making five appearances in the manager’s first season, he returned to the wilderness.
Loan spells with Go Ahead Eagles, Willem II and, failingly, Extremadura UD were to follow, before a surprise return to the first-team fold in 2019/20.
Chirivella became a regular in senior training again, and made six outings across the cup competitions, with the club offering him a new long-term contract as he entered the final weeks of his existing deal.
Instead, he opted to join Nantes on a free transfer, and now a first-choice starter for the Ligue 1 side, he has explained the lesson Klopp gave him that he holds with him today.
“One of the things that Klopp used to tell me every time is the orientation of your body is much more important than the pass that you make!” he told BeIN Sports, as reported by Ligue1.com.
“It’s something I keep in mind, I always try to be well orientated, to see what’s around me, and if I can do that, it’s much easier to find a pass.
“As a central midfielder, you are always in the middle of everything, you have to be really alert on everything and I think orientation is key!”
Interestingly, this serves as a call back to Klopp’s words after an ill-fated Premier League debut for Chirivella at Swansea, which saw him brought off at half-time in a 3-1 defeat.
“He’s a wonderful player, a passing player, a big, big talent, but today he forgot to orientate himself,” he told reporters at the Liberty, five years ago.
“Today was not a game for [Pedro]. It’s only one game in his long, long football career.”
Chirivella has not only been required to adapt spatially as he settles into the first club of his senior career proper, but also physically, with the 24-year-old comparing Nantes to Liverpool.
“It’s true that when you come from Liverpool, you are always used to having the ball – we had some games 60 or 70 percent possession,” he explained.
“Now you come here and it’s rare that we win the possession battle so it’s going to be more physical and I think I’m already used to it and hopefully we can show that in the next games.”
So far this season, Chirivella has made five consecutive starts for Nantes in his favoured No. 6 role – though only two of those have been in victory, with Antoine Kombouare’s side currently 10th in Ligue 1.