ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 20, 2022: Liverpool's Arthur Melo during the English Football League Trophy Northern Group D match between Rochdale AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Spotland. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool coach explains Arthur’s request to train and play with U21s

Arthur has spent the international break training and playing with the Liverpool under-21s, with the decision to do so confirmed as being “off his own back.”

While the rest of his first-team colleagues embark on mid-season holidays or international duty, Arthur is spending the September break in the academy.

His name was a surprise one when the teamsheet was released for the U21s’ clash with Leicester on Saturday, lining up alongside Nat Phillips and Fabio Carvalho, and he then followed that up with a start in the EFL Trophy against Rochdale.

Those two outings saw Arthur clock over 150 minutes in just four days, as part of a regime to accelerate his fitness and match sharpness before rejoining the senior squad.

That, it turns out, came at the deadline-day signing’s request, with U21s manager Barry Lewtas revealing how the Brazilian has foregone any time off to ensure he is in the best possible shape.

“From what I’ve been told, Arthur asked to play,” Lewtas told The Athletic.

“He wants to get fit, he doesn’t need a week off. It’s been off his own back which shows his level of professionalism.

“He’s been great with the young lads. I don’t think he knew where we were coming tonight but he knew we had a game!

“In training yesterday he was excellent. He really drove the session. It was probably the best matchday minus one we’ve had.”

SEAGRAVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 17, 2022: Liverpool's Arthur Melo (L) and Fabio Carvalho (C) run out for the second half during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Leicester City FC Under-23's and Liverpool FC Under-23's at the Leicester City Training Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Given Arthur’s pedigree – as a Brazil international who has played for both Barcelona and Juventus – he could have been forgiven for seeing U21s football as beneath him.

But Lewtas insists that “he’s really embraced it,” explaining that “you can tell from his body language that he wants to be around.”

“You see someone who does everything properly,” he added. “You can tell why he’s the professional he is.”

Within The Athletic’s report of Arthur’s 63-minute showing against Rochdale, which saw Liverpool finally concede after he had been replaced by Jay Spearing, it is described as being “all part of a special plan.”

Jurgen Klopp and his coaches are eager for their new No. 29 to get up to speed to contribute during a busy run of nine games in October alone, with this time “always viewed as key in terms of Arthur playing catch-up.”

Sources within the club are said to “firmly believe the decision to bring him in on deadline day will be vindicated as the campaign progresses.”