Goalkeeper returns to Liverpool after turbulent loan spell ends early

After less than six months, Marcelo Pitaluga has seen his loan spell cut short after a rocky time in Ireland that ended with just seven appearances.

The 21-year-old sealed a move to St Patrick’s Athletic in January, a club that allowed fellow Reds goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros to excel in 2021.

But whereas Jaros would lift a piece of silverware for them, Pitaluga struggled to find form and confidence, and after one too many errors his chances to improve on the pitch became non-existent.

On Friday, St Pat’s new boss, Stephen Kenny, confirmed the young ‘keeper’s loan deal had been terminated early, saying: “We said goodbye to Marcelo, a great guy and a good career ahead of him, I think.”

The Brazilian was expected to be with the Irish club until November – their season runs from February to November – but he returns to Liverpool after less than six months.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pitaluga did start St Pat’s first four league games of the season, but an error-riddled outing in a 3-1 loss to Waterford was the beginning of the end – he would feature just once more in a cup match.

With one previous loan spell behind him, with eighth-tier club Macclesfield in 2022/23, it proved a challenge for Pitaluga to find his feet, and now Liverpool will hope to build his confidence back up in pre-season.

He is eligible to fill a homegrown slot in the Premier League, so there is an opportunity with Liverpool next season, but it would not be a surprise to see another loan lined up.

Pitaluga has previously been an ever-present in first-team training at Liverpool, working alongside his national compatriot Alisson, plus coaches John Achterberg, Jack Robinson and Claudio Taffarel.

Achterberg and Robinson are no longer at the club, but Arne Slot has appointed Fabian Otte as the new goalkeeping coach, with the 33-year-old to join after his work with the United States at Copa America.