Liverpool have confirmed the signing of teenage goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga – but his move is unlikely to spell danger for the under-fire Adrian. Pitaluga will go into the club’s academy system instead of being a first-team option, though he will train alongside Adrian and Alisson at Melwood.
The Premier League champions have paid Fluminense an initial fee of around £700,000 for 17-year-old Pitaluga.
An under-17 World Cup winner with Brazil, Pitaluga arrives highly rated having played for the same club as Reds No 1 Alisson’s brother Muriel.
He was named on the bench in two league matches last season but has not yet made his senior debut.
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Pitaluga has already started training at Liverpool’s base but will play for the club’s academy sides instead of rivalling Adrian for the spot in goal while Alisson is out injured.
The Brazil international is currently out with a shoulder problem and could face up to six weeks out, having missed the Premier League thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa last time out.
Stand-in shot-stopper Adrian made a mistake to allow Villa to take an early lead with Liverpool eventually slipping to a 7-2 loss in the Midlands.
But Pitaluga will not be competing with the Spaniard despite his move to Liverpool, with 21-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher regarded as the third-choice keeper.
Liverpool’s head of goalkeeping John Achterberg said: “I saw him for the first time in the World Cup squad. You’re checking all the goalies and looking at the ages.
“You see that he was in the World Cup squad one year younger than the rest of the squad, then you think that’s worth a look because normally you have two goalkeepers of the same age, but if you have someone who is a year younger you think he may have some good attributes.
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“He was at Fluminense; we got some games to look at, all the other goalie coaches also look at it – Jack [Robinson] and the Academy coaches Mark [Morris] and Taff [Neil Edwards]. And, of course, I speak to the gaffer and the rest of the coaching department here.
“In Fluminense we had Allan [on loan], so I spoke to Julian [Ward, loan pathways and football partnerships manager] if he saw a little bit of him in training there. He saw him too and was also positive.
“I asked Ali to speak to his brother to see how it goes and how he is doing. Ali spoke to his brother and Ali went training there. We saw a little bit from the training and the games he was playing for the reserves in Brazil.
“He was already 16 playing in the reserve team there so you also think, they trust him to play already in the reserves at 16.
“Now he is here, we have to improve [him]. He is still young, there is no pressure because there is still a long road and we don’t want to create any pressure for him because there is still work to do.
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“First of all, you need to let him settle down, find his way. He needs to learn the speed, the kind of game in England is different than in Brazil, it’s a lot faster and there’s more aggression in it. All that stuff you have to calculate as well to work on a little bit.”
Alisson will definitely be out of the Merseyside derby clash with Everton in Liverpool’s first game after the international break on Saturday 17 October.
He will also miss out on the Reds’ Champions League opener away at Ajax and is set to be sidelined for further league and European matches with Sheffield United, Midtjylland, West Ham and Atalanta.
The 28-year-old will hope to return for a crunch Premier League clash with Manchester City before the November international break on Saturday 7 November.
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