Last summer Liverpool went on a mass period of rebuilding, with plenty of names being moved on from the club as Brendan Rodgers decided to install his new footballing philosophy on the team.
But, as ever with such a widespread change of direction at any football team, there was simply not enough time for Rodgers to put his new team together.
In that respect Rodgers had to count on some of the younger players to come good.
One such player was Spanish starlet Suso. The talented prodigy was tipped for greatness ever since arriving from Cadiz in 2010 - with the fans at the club particulary vociferous in their belief that great things were to come from Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saez de la Torre.
But eventually his first-team playing time diminished, and with the arrival of several direct competitors since January, it became clear he was set to be going on his way on loan in 2012-13.
The 20-year-old was certainly the right age to be sent out on a temporary spell - and this way he would be assured of first-team football.
But interestingly it has emerged today that the club did not actually want to send him out on loan - but that Suso requested it.
The talented playmaker has been speaking to the Liverpool website today and made it clear that this summer it was he who decided that a season away from Anfield was the best step for his progression:
“Liverpool wanted me to stay; they didn't say I had to go on loan. But I know there are a lot of good players at Liverpool, maybe I wasn't going to start games. I am young - the most important thing right now is that I have to play.”
It has not proved to be a mistake. The highly rated player has been one of the few shining lights for struggling Almeria and seems to be adapting into the player the club wanted him to become.
But his interview got even more interesting when he revealed just how close he came to joining Real Madrid ahead of Liverpool.
Los Merengues also wanted to take him from Cadiz as a kid - as did fellow Spanish giants Barcelona. And he revealed he was just one day away from signing for Real before Rafa Benitez changed his mind:
"I was going to sign for Real Madrid. I remember everything. It was the day before I was going to sign for them, Rafa called me and we were talking about how he really wanted me to join Liverpool. Comparing Real Madrid and Liverpool, there were more chances to become a professional footballer. At Real Madrid, the possibility to go into the first team was really difficult; maybe now it is changing a little bit, but years ago it was really difficult.”
And thank god for Rafa - as Suso looks like blossoming into a first-team star for years to come.
image: © cogocogo