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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pacheco- will he stay or will he go?

Coming from Ipswich, and still retaining a semblance of affection for my hometown team, I was understandably not particularly pleased when the Tractor Boys’ Suffolk rivals Norwich City clinched promotion to the Premier League with a Bank Holiday Monday win over south coast side Portsmouth. However, my displeasure at the result doubled with the realisation that the Canaries’ top two finish will, in all likelihood, lead to the permanent departure of Daniel Pacheco away from Anfield.

Since moving south in the middle of March on an emergency loan Pacheco has made five appearances for Paul Lambert's side, providing two assists on his debut and netting his first goal for the club in their comprehensive 5-1 derby victory over Ipswich Town.

Pacheco has tasted regular and competitive first team football in a confident and successful side for the first time in his career and has inevitably enjoyed the exhilarating experience, leaving him hungry for a consistent run of games in order to continue and accelerate his development.

As a result, although the 20-year old Spaniard will sign off from his loan spell on Saturday and return to Merseyside, the enticing prospect of first team football in the Premier League with Norwich, paired with the lack of opportunities afforded to him at Anfield, leaves Pacheco seemingly destined to return to the newly promoted Norwich in the summer.

For many years Pacheco has been one of our most promising youngsters and, when former manager Roy Hodgson handed him the number 12 shirt at the start of the season, hopes were raised that he could play a greater role in the first team this campaign, and that he could prove to be influential both from the bench and in the starting eleven.

However, the skilful Spaniard made only seven appearances for the Reds this season, featuring just once in the League and failing to play a single minute of first team football under current temporary manager Kenny Dalglish.

Considering the fact that King Kenny has been lauded by both supporters and the media for giving fellow youngsters John Flanagan, Jack Robinson, Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly several opportunities at senior level, it is clear that the legendary Scot does not rate Pacheco as highly as other Academy startles.

Perhaps more importantly, he doesn't seem to fit into our system of play. Pacheco's preferred position is as an attacking midfielder who operates in the hole behind the main striker, however when the Reds employ a 4-2-3-1 system this role is normally filled by Raul Meireles, who possess more tactical nous and is more defensively able compared to the solely attack minded Pacheco.

Also, he has never really suited a role on the wings due to his lack of crossing ability and, although some have suggested that he should start up front ahead of the much maligned David Ngog, he doesn't have the physical presence to cope with the blows and bruises that a Premier League striker suffers over the course of the season.

Consequently, Pacheco has stagnated in the reserves and appears set to leave in the summer which, although understandable due to his failure to fit into our system of play, is frustrating. The former Barcelona youth player is tricky, talented and creative and could add an extra element to our attack both in the short and long term.

However, his departure could be the correct move for both him and Liverpool. Returning to Norwich would allow Pacheco to fulfill his obvious potential and enjoy regular, top level football while the Reds could use the transfer fee to invest in the Academy to aid the development of other young stars.

Ultimately, although I would be disappointed to see Pacheco leave, I, alongside the vast majority of supporters, trust Kenny Dalglish to make the right decision and work wisely in the upcoming transfer window in order to continue the Reds' recent resurgence, with or without the talented young Spaniard.


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