Liverpool full-back’s season ends in playoff joy after 129th-minute winner

Over a year after making his loan move to Spanish side Alaves, Liverpool defender Anderson Arroyo saw his season finally end with promotion.

Due to work permit issues, Colombian full-back Arroyo has been unable to make an appearance for his parent club since arriving from Fortaleza in 2018.

Instead, he has spent the last five-and-a-half years out on loan, with his most recent switch, last July, bringing him to Alaves in the Segunda Division.

His second consecutive campaign in the Spanish second tier, Arroyo saw a major improvement on his mid-table finish with Mirandes in 2021/22, securing a playoff spot this time around.

A fourth-placed finish pitted Alaves against Eibar in the semi-finals, which ended in a 3-1 aggregate win, setting up a two-legged final against Levante.

After a 0-0 draw in the first leg, all eyes were on the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia on Saturday evening – for one of the final games of most domestic leagues in Europe.

Arroyo was an unused substitute in a clash which went into extra time and beyond, with Alaves ultimately winning 1-0 to secure a spot in LaLiga.

The game was decided by a penalty awarded in the seventh minute of stoppage time, when Levante defender Rober Pier was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball on the edge of the area.

Asier Villalibre stepped up to convert the spot-kick, consigning a Levante side including ex-Premier League players Roberto Soldado and Shkodran Mustafi to another season in the Segunda Division.

Arroyo was part of the frantic celebrations at full-time, with Alaves returning to LaLiga at the first time of asking.

KAA Gent's new player Anderson Arroyo Cordoba pictured in action during a training session of Belgian soccer team KAA Gent, during the 2018-2019 Jupiler Pro League season, Friday 07 September 2018, in Gent. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

The 23-year-old signed a new contract with Liverpool prior to his move to Alaves, tying him to the club until 2025, but it is unlikely he will return as part of the first team.

Instead, after 22 appearances last season split between right-back and centre-back, he could head out on the seventh loan move of his career.

Much will depend on the level of interest Liverpool receive in the player, as a sizeable offer – possibly from a club in Spain – would likely tempt them into parting ways on a permanent basis.