Pedro Chirivella, Liverpool’s young midfielder, was not a player on anyone’s radar early this season. If anything, he seemed destined for a move away from Anfield to the obscurity of a smaller continental league. The Spaniard, however, has been given opportunities in the cup competitions this season, and has used those opportunities to impress the Liverpool faithful and the backroom staff.
After the English FA refused to move a Carabao Cup game against Aston Villa while the senior team was slated to play less than 24 hour later in the FIFA Club World Cup, Chirivella was given the opportunity to lead an extremely young side. At 22 years old, he would be the “old man” of the squad, and was given the captains armband.
“I got told in the meeting before the game that I was going to be captain”, said the 22 year old midfielder. “It was such a proud moment for me, even though it was under strange circumstances.”
“But it’s something I can say for the rest of my life and I’m sure my family are very happy for that. I’d be even more happy if we had won the game.”
While the game ended with a lopsided 5-0 scoreline, Chirivella and his band of merry youngsters showed a real attacking verve along with a no-quit attitude that endeared them to the Liverpool fans. It was a big moment for many of the young Liverpool players.
“I think we made the club proud. In the first half we were as good as them, only they scored a few goals. It was a happy day for me at the end, even though we didn’t get the result.”
For a team like Liverpool, this is the magic of the cup. Unheralded players get a chance to leave their impression on the minds of the fans and coaching staff, the chance to make a name for themselves. These chances can be few and far between for many players trying to break into a top tier side like Liverpool.
“I kept the shirt and I gave it to my parents,” said Chirivella. “I think they’ve framed it in my room back home in Spain. I’m looking forward to seeing it.”
Jurgen Klopp showed his trust in Chirivella and many of the same youngsters again, this time against Everton in the FA Cup. Chirivella and his midfield partner, Adam Lallana, were sensational against their Merseyside rivals. This time, the young Liverpool squad were triumphant.
“It was a relief for me, personally. I thought I played a good game and finally people could see why I’m a part of Liverpool Football Club”, said Chirivella.
“Hopefully I can build up from here, in 20 or 25 years’ time I don’t want to think what could have happened. Hopefully this is the start.”
It was definitely the start of people recognizing the quality of his play. Chirivella’s performances in the cup competitions have lead to Liverpool reportedly offering him a new contract to keep him at the club. He’s also expected to feature in the side against Shrewsbury in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
“It will be a tricky one. I think we have to approach it the same way we always do – try to win and play good football. I think we’re going to be ready for that.”
While Pedro Chirivella’s destiny may ultimately lie outside of Liverpool, he has taken the opportunities given during the cup competitions to raise his profile. If Liverpool progress, he may not feature again, but Chirivella has already made a name for himself. This truly is the Magic of the Cup.