Liverpool have taken former Barcelona youth-team defender Juanma on trial with a view to a permanent move after he was released by the Catalan club in the summer. The versatile defender made an appearance for the Reds U21 side in their 4-1 win over Welsh Premier League side Rhyl FC.
The 19-year-old whose original name is Juan Manuel Garcia started at left-back for the Liverpool second string, but he can also operate at centre-back. He was impressive in his debut and also contributed with an assist when his pinpoint cross found Brooks Lennon for the game's second goal.
Liverpool U21 coach Eric Beale was impressed with the youngster's performance and is hoping to see more of the defender during his weeklong trial. The Reds reserve team coach also hinted that he could be retained beyond his trial period, while also comparing him with Manchester City star Pablo Zabaleta.
"Juanma is a boy who's come in to spend the week with us with a view to maybe seeing more of him. He's only had a couple of days training with us, speaks very little English but you can see a very good player. He had a fantastic assist for Brooks Lennon," Beale told the Liverpool Echo.
"He was at Barcelona so we'll have a look and see how we go with him. He played with (fellow Academy players) Madger Gomes and Pedro Chirivella with Spain so we're quite familiar with him."
"He's very versatile and can play in different positions because technically he's very good. I quite like him, he reminds a little bit of someone like a Pablo Zabaleta-type player, a nice player," he added.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp is in the market for a left-back to challenge Alberto Moreno after the Spaniard was found wanting on a number of occasions last season, especially during Liverpool's Europa League final loss against Sevilla. Jose Enrique has been released, while Sky Sports understands that left-back Brad Smith is close to completing a move to Bournemouth.
According to the Sun, the Anfield outfit are plotting a last ditch effort to sign Leicester City full back Ben Chilwell. The Reds have been linked with a move for the young full back since the start of the summer, but the Foxes are reluctant to part with the England U21 international.
Claudio Ranieri has offered the defender a new five-year contract, but Liverpool are hoping to convince him to turn down their offer and sign a similar deal with the Merseyside club. The 19-year-old is yet to make an appearance in the Premier League for the reigning champions and spent two months of last season on loan at Hudderfield Town before making appearances in the FA Cup third round for the Foxes.