Arthur Melo ‘agreement’ revealed as plan for Liverpool midfielder emerges
Arthur Melo did not go to Crystal Palace with Jurgen Klopp’s senior team, but instead played the entire 90 minutes of Liverpool U21s’ 7-1 triumph over Leicester City.
Arthur Melo started Saturday’s 7-1 thumping of Leicester City as he continued his rehabilitation from a long-term thigh injury, earning praise from Liverpool U21s manager Barry Lewtas for his “unbelievable humility.”
The 22-cap Brazil international, who signed for the Reds late in the summer transfer window on a season-long loan, has only appeared in 13 minutes for Jurgen Klopp’s team and has spent the last five months recovering from thigh surgery.
After returning to training ahead of the Merseyside derby earlier this month, the 26-year-old used the U21s’ Premier League 2 fixture against the Midlanders to make his first start since September.
Arthur lined up in midfield alongside Bobby Clark and Dominic Corness and played the full 90 minutes as a phenomenal individual performance from 17-year-old Ben Doak inspired the young Reds to a deserved 7-1 victory.
But despite the plaudits of the young Scot, Lewtas was left impressed by the qualities of the Brazilian.
“It’s brilliant, really. We knew yesterday he was going to play,” Lewtas told the ECHO at full-time. “Look at Arthur, he’s had a fantastic career, played at some top clubs and played with some top players and at the minute is just finding his way back from injury.
“If we can help, I think it’s a compliment to the way we play that we can give some senior players an opportunity, as well as some of the younger ones.
“He really adds something to us because he’s got a lot of quality and you could see today when we were playing through Leicester Arthur played a big part in that.”
He continued: “It’s great for our lads to see someone of that level working his way back to fitness and is willing to come down and play. I think it shows unbelievable humility.
“It shows someone who is desperate to get back fit, get playing and find rhythm because he wants to try and play. I think it reveals an awful lot of character.”
Saturday’s outing was just the second 90 minutes the midfielder has completed this season, with both occurring in Premier League 2 fixtures against the Foxes, and Lewtas revealed Arthur had been desperate to achieve that particular landmark.
“The decision around it was if we can get him to 90, we’ll get him to 90,” added Lewtas. “Obviously we take instructions from the medical staff and Arthur knows his own body well enough. We checked on 45 and he was fine.
“We had an agreement if he was starting to tire or anything like that he would kind of give us the nod. He certainly enjoyed it. It wasn’t the worst game to have a run-out in!”
While Liverpool and Klopp appear to have little desire to keep the Brazilian at Anfield beyond the end of his loan agreement, Arthur will hope he is able to contribute to the Reds’ pursuit of Champions League qualification between now and the end of the season.
But a return to Kirkby once a fortnight is unlikely, according to Lewtas, who said: “He’s been back training back with the first-team and obviously their squad is a little bit bigger now.
“His plan isn’t to be with us. It was just like earlier in the season, if we’ve got the opportunity to give someone a bit of exposure we will do it.
“We play on the same day as the first-team too which is important, it means he can still follow the first-team schedule. It all has to align for it to work and today it did.”