Arthur Melo makes Liverpool Under-21 appearance in Papa John’s Trophy defeat to Rochdale before being replaced by cult hero Jay Spearing – ‘He’s really embraced it’

    Arthur Melo was handed an opportunity to get some minutes under his belt by turning out for Liverpool’s under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy.

    The Brazilian midfielder completed a season-long loan move to Anfield on transfer deadline day following a frustrating time with Juventus.

    Arthur played an hour for the under-21s after arriving at Anfield on a season-long loan deal from Juventus

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    Arthur played an hour for the under-21s after arriving at Anfield on a season-long loan deal from Juventus

    Arthur made his Liverpool debut against Napoli but is in need of additional minutes

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    Arthur made his Liverpool debut against Napoli but is in need of additional minutes

    The 26-year-old has struggled to maintain his fitness over recent months and has been limited to just one senior appearance for Jurgen Klopp’s side since making the move to Merseyside, a 13-minute cameo in the Champions League clash with Napoli.

    Arthur is keen to prove himself to the Liverpool fans and the first step to doing that is building up his match fitness.

    That’s why he was selected as part of the under-21s side for their 1-0 defeat to Rochdale, playing 60 minutes against the League Two side.

    “From what I’ve been told, Arthur asked to play,” Liverpool Under-21s boss Barry Lewtas told The Athletic.

    “He wants to get fit, he doesn’t need a week off. It’s been off his own back which shows his level of professionalism.

    “He’s been great with the young lads. I don’t think he knew where we were coming tonight but he knew we had a game! In training yesterday he was excellent. He really drove the session.

    “It was probably the best matchday minus one we’ve had.

    “He doesn’t speak Scouse and I don’t speak Portuguese, but you can tell from his body language that he wants to be around. He’s really embraced it.”

    It was Arthur’s second appearance for the development side after playing 90 minutes in the under-21s’ 2-1 victory over Leicester last weekend.

    In a blast from the past, Arthur was replaced by Jay Spearing in the Papa John’s Trophy clash.

    Spearing is now a player-coach with Liverpool’s under-21s

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    Spearing is now a player-coach with Liverpool’s under-21s

    Reds fans will remember Spearing well having come through the academy before making over 50 appearances for the first team

    Getty Images – Getty

    Reds fans will remember Spearing well having come through the academy before making over 50 appearances for the first team

    Spearing played 55 times for Liverpool before going on to enjoy a career with the likes of Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool and Tranmere Rovers.

    Since then, the 33-year-old has returned to Anfield and is registered as a player-coach as he looks to build up his coaching experience while providing a helping hand to the Reds’ development side, providing individual support to Liverpool’s stars of tomorrow.

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