Liverpool cannot lose the ‘next Xabi Alonso’ to Real Madrid

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Liverpool’s beleaguered boss Brendan Rodgers has several large blazes in urgent need of extinguishing at Anfield and another smaller fire which he must snuff out soon, to prevent it escalating.

Within their squad Liverpool are harbouring one of the brightest midfield prospects on the continent, but in times of such woe they can ill-afford to let Real Madrid pilfer Pedro Chirivella.

The Spanish U18 captain is a holding midfielder in the mould of his idol and former Liverpool string-puller, Xabi Alonso, now orchestrating things at Bayern Munich following his Bernabeu exit.

Still only 17, it was only a year ago that Liverpool pulled off a coup of their own by prising Chirivella – nicknamed ‘the computer’ by one of the Anfield youth coaches for his ability to pick exactly the right pass – from Valencia for a bargain £200,000.

Madrid and Barcelona were also in for the Spaniard then, but given the malaise which has enveloped Liverpool this season, it would send out exactly the wrong sort of message to buckle under the Spanish giant’s renewed interest.

Like an overloaded steam train in an old western film, Liverpool’s season is sliding off the rails and in danger of plunging into a ravine.

A third straight Premier League defeat for Rodgers’ men has left the directionless Reds marooned in 12th, while a renewed price of 3/1 just to make the top four, is reflective of the mire they are in.

Hopes of any respite now lie in the Champions League, although Liverpool’s campaign is also precariously balanced to put it mildly.

A win against Ludogorets – rated at 9/10 – next up is imperative before a final-day showdown at home to Basel.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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