There was a time when Liverpool - in a reversal of the English emigration to the Costa Blanca - was overflowing with Spaniards. Rafa Benitez was the manager, and the abundance of iberian ability in the first team was only matched by the depth of prospective talent having arrived from the same region. From Reina through Arbeloa, Alonso and Torres in the first team, all the way down to the Pachecos and Susos and Ayalas and San Joses among the yutes, Spain was well represented on Merseyside. Coincidentally or not, this was also the best period in Liverpool's recent history, with regular top four finishes and Champions League knockout participation.
Now, there are only three Spaniards left. Alberto Moreno is promising but inconsistent, and Jose Enrique may be a real person and professional footballer, or a pile of imploded knee cartilage with unparalleled FIFA proficiency. With the latter's contract running out and looking unlikely to be renewed, it is good to know that the club has some Spanish talent in the pipeline, and arguably the most exciting of those signed a new contract today.
"It feels really good. I have worked really hard in the last year. I’m very proud to sign a new contract with one of the best teams in Europe.
"When Liverpool wanted me to sign here, I had no doubt about it. But when I came here, I needed to perform really well because the club trusted me and I had to give them a reason why.
"With pressure and [being] away from family, there are a lot of things that make it difficult, but now I’m pleased to be doing really well here."
Chirivella made his full debut in the Europa League agains Bordeaux in September, and has since gone on to make three appearances in the FA Cup under Jürgen Klopp. Lacking elite athleticism, Chirivella relies on his ability to see the pitch and read the game in order to break up opposition attacks and dictate play from a deep midfield position. It is the kind of skill set that is rare at the youth level - far more so than players who can kick the ball hard and run fast - and one that the Reds haven't had an abundance of in the first team either. If Chirivella can build on the promising displays from this season - and the new contract indicates that the coaching staff believes he can - Liverpool will be in possession of a genuine DLP for the first time since 2009.
His squad number is 68. 6+8 is 14. Xabi Alonso was number 14. I won't say more.