Liverpool star could have lined up against Reds tonight, confirms Middlesbrough boss

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Javi Manquillo was in talks to join Liverpool’s League Cup opponents Middlesbrough, before he agreed a switch to Anfield.

20-year-old full-back Manquillo agreed a two-year loan deal with Livepool during the summer, moving from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, for whom he made six appearances since his debut in 2011.

The Spanish youth international has made four Premier League appearances for the Reds this season, all as a starter, although he was hauled off the pitch after just 22 minutes on Saturday, with the Reds two goals down to West Ham at Upton Park.

Tuesday night’s League Cup tie against Middlesbrough could give Reds head coach Brendan Rodgers a chance to deploy Manquillo in a less testing game, although the need to win certainly outweighs the need to see Manquillo cope with weaker opposition, as Liverpool should certainly be focusing upon winning the League Cup.

However, if things had turned out differently, Manquillo could have been taking to the Anfield turf tonight - looking to knock them out the competition.

Boro head coach Aitor Karanka has ties with Madrid - albeit the Real side of the city - but he has confirmed to Gazette Live that he looked at bringing in Manquillo to Teeside last season, having worked with him during his time in charge with the Spanish Under-16 side.

The former Real Madrid player and coach said: “I asked him to come here last season but it was difficult for him when he was playing at Atletico Madrid.

“I know him because I had him when I was the under-16 national coach in Spain, and I know him as a lad. I was speaking with him last season to try and convince him but it wasn’t possible.”

The youngster’s start in England has been acceptable, if not remarkable, featuring in two wins and two losses in the Premier League, but Karanka is confident that his former target will be a success wherever he plays - especially in England.

“I think he’s the ideal player to play in England because he’s very strong and good with his feet”, the coach continued.

“He has everything to have a lot of success here in England, or in Spain. He’s going to be a very good player.”

Manquillo will be looking to make another appearance for Rodgers’s men tonight, as Liverpool look to book their place in the fourth round of the League Cup.

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