Happy Deadline Day, Kopite readers!
While today looks to be an uneventful end to an uneventful window for the Reds, we can hardly complain given the outstanding situation we’re currently in.
Though nothing looks to be happening today, 31st January has historically been newsworthy for the Reds, particularly in 2007 when Spanish right back Alvaro Arbeloa signed for Liverpool from Deportivo La Coruna for a reported fee of around £2.5m. The motive behind the move would be that it would allow right back cover and competition for Steve Finnan.
A product of Real Madrid’s academy, the Spaniard’s ability to play on either side would be a useful skill for compatriot Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool.
Unfortunately Arbeloa’s Liverpool career would be a short one as after two and a half years in Merseyside, 98 appearances and two goals, Real Madrid would come calling and I’m sure any footballer, let alone a Spanish one, would tell you how persuasive an offer from Real Madrid could be.
In the short time he donned the red shirt, Arbeloa had a definitive impact and so fittingly today, we’ll reminisce on his Liverpool career.
Alvaro’s Premier League debut was sure to have given him an idea of just how fierce and unpredictable the Premier League can be, as he replaced Jermaine Pennant in the final 15 minutes of a dismal 2-1 away loss to Newcastle.
And if you think that was tough, his first official start for the Reds would be against holders Barcelona at Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League. Talk about being thrown into the deep end! However, this result would be much more celebratory than the Newcastle one as the Reds took a 2-1 away win, picking up two crucial away goals that would ultimately decide the tie.
Arbeloa coped extremely well at left back against the threat of starboy Lionel Messi. His first of two Liverpool goals came against Reading on the 7th April 2007.
Arbeloa would make 14 appearances in all competitions by the end of the 2006-07 season including an appearance as a substitute in the 88th minute of the 2007 Champions League final against AC Milan in Athens, which would result in heartbreak for Reds fans.
Interestingly, he would change shirt number from 2 to 17 ahead of the 2007-08 season, claiming 17 was a number of great significance to him, and Craig Bellamy’s departure left the number available. Admittedly, I’ve always had an old-fashioned view regarding shirt numbers so this was not a change that sat well with me!
Arbeloa would make 41 appearances in the 2007-08 season, his first full season at Liverpool, cementing his place as first choice right back. And a respectable 43 in the 2008-09 season, where he played a key role in a title-challenging season where once again we would come up just short.
In July 2009, it was time to say Adios to Alvaro as he made the move to Madrid for a fee of £5 million, a bargain in the grand scheme of things.