Liverpool have had a fairly heavy rotation of young players and unfamiliar faces on the bench recently, with injuries, Covid and a busy fixture list all playing a part.
While Kaide Gordon, Tyler Morton and Owen Beck have now all featured for the first team as well as being subs of late, one notable name who is yet to play for Jurgen Klopp‘s side is Marcelo Pitaluga.
The goalkeeper is a fairly recent addition at Kirkby, joining late last year and just turning 19 years old before Christmas – but he has been heavily involved in first-team preparations this month.
In mid-December he made the bench in the Premier League for the first time, during the win over Newcastle, while he was sub again against Leicester in the League Cup quarter-final.
It makes three bench duty days for the campaign for Pitaluga, who the boss confirmed had been promoted to third-choice, at least for the time being, meaning there’s no current plan for him to head out for senior action.
“If you give a very talented boy on loan, then pretty much always something happens,” Klopp said recently.
“Now Adrian is injured at the moment, so Marcelo is now No. 3. A very young boy, but that’s all fine.”
With our first-choice goalkeeper being Brazilian and our newest coaching staff addition – Claudio Taffarel – being an absolute icon of the same nation, there’s plenty of inspiration for Pitaluga to look up to as he aims to progress.
Alisson is one who has been impressed by his growth, having initially trained with him at Fluminense during 2020.
“Yeah, Marcelo is really talented,” Alisson told the club website.
“I saw him a few times back in Brazil, but I could know more about him here as a goalie and as a person as well.
“He is a really special boy, he is really excited about having the opportunity to play for Liverpool. Now he has settled in and is doing really well in training. He is a boy who trains really hard and is really dedicated for what he is doing. And someone who likes to learn as well.
“So it is really good to work together with him, not only for being Brazilian but for being a really good talent and such a good person.”
The lengths the Reds went to in gathering information on the youngster were revealed at the time he joined and, interestingly, included the opinion of incoming sporting director Julian Ward – at the time he was loan pathways manager and was overseeing Allan’s progress at the same Brazilian club.
It all highlights the joined-up thinking at Anfield as the Reds look to keep a succession plan in place, with elite-level goalkeepers promoted from within to eventually replace Alisson Becker just one part of the strategy.
Whether that turns out to be Pitaluga, Caoimhin Kelleher, Harvey Davies or any one of the other youngsters on the books remains to be seen, but the boy from Niteroi looks well-placed right now to get his chance in future and continue impressing those watching most closely.