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Luis Alberto's Malaga Loan Cut Short, Liverpool Future Unclear

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Having failed to build on a promising run early in the season, Luis Alberto has returned to Liverpool after his loan at La Liga side Malaga was cut short.

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There was always a sense that Luis Alberto had something more to offer had he been given the chance, but the few he was afforded failed to produce anything convincing. After featuring sparingly during the 2013-2014 season at Liverpool, the hope was that his two-year loan move to Malaga would afford him the chance to get regular playing time in the top flight and find a consistent run of form.

That looked to be the case early last season, when he made a handful of starts and got on the scoresheet for manager Javi Garcia. As the season progressed, however, Alberto was given fewer and fewer opportunities, eventually struggling to even make the matchday squad in a side that finished ninth. Today brings news that there won't be any further opportunities afforded to the midfielder at the club, with Malaga cancelling his loan a year early and sending him back to Liverpool.

It doesn't appear that a return to Merseyside will provide much in the way of chances, however, with Brendan Rodgers leaving Alberto on the bench for most of his first season in a Liverpool jersey. The manager didn't appear fond of the youngster's impact--or lack thereof--when he did feature, and it's hard to see how he nudges ahead of the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, or James Milner in a central or attacking midfield role.

What seems most likely is that Liverpool look to secure another loan or sale, with Spain the expected destination yet again. He is still a player with excellent technique and plenty of promise, and a loan would be preferable. There were plenty of glimpses during his limited time at Liverpool that he has something to offer, and while he didn't feature as regularly as he might have liked this past season, Garcia was positive about his future back in March when discussing the player's reduced role.

As is so often the case with younger players, nothing is settled yet, and hopefully the next few months will provide some clarity for Luis Alberto as well as a chance to find consistent playing time for the season ahead.