Liverpool goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga could be set for a change of clubs in January, with the young Brazilian making a big impact at Macclesfield.
Pitaluga, 19, joined non-league Macclesfield on a season-long loan in July, and has been in exceptional form for the club since.
In 23 appearances for the Cheshire side, the Brazilian has kept 11 clean sheets, with Macclesfield currently top of the Northern Premier League Division One West table.
An ankle ligament injury has sidelined Pitaluga until the end of the year, however, with the teenager travelling out to Dubai to undergo treatment at Liverpool’s mid-season training camp.
It has, at least, provided an opportunity for team-mate Neil Danns – also a youth coach at Liverpool – to assess his performances at Macclesfield.
“He’s having a great season so far, he’s kept a lot of clean sheets and I think it’s a great experience for him,” Danns told This Is Anfield.
? 22 games
?? 11 clean sheets
?? 14 conceded
Still trains with the Liverpool first team every day. pic.twitter.com/A5wUHP9XqD
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) November 14, 2022
“Just playing in front of 3,000, 4,000 some weeks will give him that experience and allow him to play in that competitive environment.
“He’s started off really, really well. He has a lot of amazing attributes that I’m sure will stand him in good stead going forward.
“He still trains with Liverpool, and Liverpool’s first team, during the week, so that obviously adds to his progress.
“He’s a great size for a ‘keeper, great shot-stopper, so hopefully he can progress to where he needs to get.”
The step from Macclesfield, in the eighth tier of English football, to Liverpool is a significant one, but Pitaluga’s loan spell will be seen as vital to his development.
While the challenge of playing week in, week out against non-league strikers could be a formative one for the youngster, there are suggestions he could be recalled and sent out to another club higher up the pyramid in January.
That comes with Pitaluga held in high regard by those within the Liverpool first-team setup, and Danns believes he has the mentality needed to succeed.
“With regards to him breaking through to the first team, it’s a similar view to what I have with my son,” the 40-year-old, whose son Jayden is part of the Liverpool under-18s squad, added.
“It takes a special player to get near that first team, and as long as Marcelo keeps working hard – which I know he will do – and carries on that way, then he has every chance.
“He’s a great lad on and off the pitch, he demands good standards.
“It is a tough ask at a club like Liverpool, but with the work that these young lads put in, then I don’t see why not.
“They have as much chance as anyone else. I’ll be backing him and cheering him on if he ever does break into that side.”