Dani Pacheco may not have impressed when played at striker against Young Boys in the Europa League, but given that it was probably the first time a manager has mistaken the diminutive Spaniard for a centre forward since he left the Barcelona academy in 2008 it could hardly have been considered a surprise. More promisingly, when he was later given a chance in a more suitable attacking midfield role against West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup, he was one of Liverpool's best performers on the day.
With the club short on options in the final third and Pacheco having in the past also played from the left, it seemed as though he was in line to finally get the chance at first team football both the player himself and many expectant fans had been waiting for since he moved to Liverpool. Instead, following his impressive performance Pacheco couldn't even find a spot on the bench over the next three games, missing out not only on two league matches but also on one in the Europa League.
Following another weekend spent watching from the stands—this time while Joe Cole was being given another chance to justify his bloated wages—on Wednesday evening Pacheco found himself back with the reserves as he joined the U21s in facing Middlesbrough.
"It’s not easy," admitted Pacheco when asked about being sent down to play with the kids one more time, "especially as I’ve been here for many years now and that happens to me almost every two weeks. But I have to keep working as hard as I can and try to impress the manager."
He will likely feel he did what he could, playing off Adam Morgan and setting up the local poacher for the winning goal. And, just perhaps, having missed out on making the bench on Sunday and without international duty to occupy him over the coming week, this is one time when dropping down to play with the U21 side should hardly seem the worst thing in the world.
"When I come to the reserves, some of the players who are training at the Academy every week are left on the bench because I’m in the reserves and so I have to play my best, first for myself and then for the other players in the team."
It may not be the chance he was hoping for following a strong performance in the League Cup to end September, but it's still a chance to impress while first team football is on a FIFA-mandated international break.