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Luis Alberto Linked with Loan Move Back to Spain

A first season spent largely on the fringes of the first team has led to speculation that Luis Alberto could be headed for a permanent exit just a year after arriving, but Friday's chatter has him headed back to Spain on a temporary basis.

Vince Caligiuri

Of the signings brought in last summer, few had a season as anonymous as Luis Alberto. Victor Moses, Iago Aspas, and Aly Cissokho come close, but each were involved as substitutes, albeit with very reduced minutes, for most of the year. Alberto featured here or there in the first half of the season, making a handful of substitute appearances, which seemed to be the way forward given that he wasn't popping up for the U21s and a loan deal in January never materialized.

But as winter turned to spring he was less and less involved, floating in and out of the matchday squad depending on the fitness of others. His two January appearances--the first of which saw him hauled off at the half against Oldham--proved to be his last of the season, giving way to talk that his Liverpool career would be over before it ever really started.

And while that's mostly been the narrative over the past few months, furthered by news in late April that he was caught driving under the influence, today he's been linked with a move that wouldn't completely bring his Liverpool career to a standstill--AS are claiming that Malaga are interested in bringing the player in on loan next season, which would mean a move close to home and a chance (assuming he's interested) to play for his Liverpool future.

It's clear he needs regular minutes, and a loan would be preferable to completely cutting loose of a player who showed such promise during the fall of 2013, but it's also looks clear that he's going to have to make some alterations to his game in order to feature under Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool's non-Steven Gerrard components in midfield need to be energetic and proactive, and Alberto was typically anything but. That isn't necessarily a slight, as his comfort and patience on the ball are impressive in their own right, but the visual evidence and idle chatter during the season indicated that the fit wasn't quite there as Rodgers turned the volume up to eleven.

Whatever ends up panning out, hopefully he does find that fit, as there's enough evidence to suggest that he has a bright future ahead of him. Once it's proven that he still exists, of course.

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