Liverpool’s ‘mystery man’ has not made single appearance in five years

When Luis Diaz signed for Liverpool as cover for the then AFCON-bound Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, he became the first Colombian to feature in a competitive fixture for the Reds. But, four years prior, a promising young defender would have hoped to have claimed that title.

Anderson Arroyo is, at this time, walking alone. A seventh loan in what is barely six years now looms for the 24-year-old, this time with Gerard Pique's FC Andorra, in the second division of Spain.

The closest Arroyo has gotten to playing for the Reds was against Tranmere in February 2018, as emergency goalkeeper Daniel Atherton borrowed the Colombian's shirt, and was given a run out in attack. He hasn't had a whiff.

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Arroyo is quite used to the Spanish leagues for what it's worth, as after joining Liverpool from home club Fortaleza, he immediately departed for Real Mallorca for the rest of the 2017/18 season, and has since played for three other Spanish sides.

But the issue remains, will this forgotten man ever wear red? The obstacle for the Colombian, apart from his poor injury track record, is an elusive work permit, and with Brexit changing the rules surrounding acquiring one, there is still hope.

After Mallorca, he was unsuccessfully shipped out to Belgian club KAA Gent in 2018 due to still lacking a permit, and also started all five matches for Colombia during the U20 World Cup in Poland that summer, where they reached the quarter-finals.

Despite this tournament success, Arroyo did not made a senior appearance for either of this first two loan clubs, and Czech outfit FK Mlada Boleslav was his next home, but he again scarcely featured.

Boleslav coach Jozef Weber said at the time: "He fits into the dressing room, he's a hilarious boy who shows that he enjoys football."

Salamanca was his next destination, where he did enjoy his football after becoming a regular for the club. But again, no Liverpool chance, and it was back to Spain with both Mirandes and Alaves for the next two years.

Despite penning a new deal with his parent club in 2022, it's now off to Andorra for Arroyo. Another year passes, another chance at a permit passes, and with this, the opportunity to play for the club that he longs to play for.

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To qualify for a permit, and even give him a slither of a chance of playing for Liverpool, Arroyo would need to gain 15 eligibility points.

These points are earned by playing in top leagues, decided by how often they play for their various clubs, and whether they a player has gained any senior international caps.

A recent example would be that of Chelsea's Andrey Santos, who was forced to return to Vasco da Gama after signing for the Blues after his permit application was rejected.

He has since returned and been sent on loan to Nottingham Forest, having gained a permit after making his full international debut for Brazil and winning the U-20 South American Championship as captain.

Post-Brexit rules now allow clubs can now register players who do not meet the older criteria and teams in the Premier League can add four of these players to their squads. Santos may never have returned to Brazil if these rules were in place at the time and Arroyo could benefit from these changes.

He has previously stated: "It is my goal, my wish, my dream to be able to make my debut for Liverpool and I hope that dream comes true.”

Let's hope it isn't just a pipe dream, and that he one day gets a sniff of the Anfield turf.

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