Think back to this summer, Spain progresses farther and farther into the 2010 European Under-19 Championship knockout stages. A young, dynamic striker, who in the end wins the Golden Boot for most goals in the Championship, spurs the highly touted and talented Spanish team forward. This young talent plies his trade on Merseyside, playing for the only big club in Liverpool. Pundits and fans everywhere are excited to see what else this young lad can do while wearing the Liverbird on his crest, in the 2010/2011 English Premier League season. Everyone believes he is destined to continue his fantastic form. This young man is not Fernando Torres, he who shamefully traded glory, trophies, and Kop lore, for more money, and no history. This young man is Dani Pacheco, “El Asesino” (The Assassin) and Liverpool reserve starlet.
Liverpool has been searching for a second forward to compliment Torres since the arrival of El Nino on Merseyside. We have had that dynamic and creative force residing in its side since 2007. A mere 20 years old, Pacheco has scored fantastic goals for a promising and exciting reserves side. Signed from the famous Barcelona youth academy, La Maisa, he possesses the skill, creativity and perhaps most importantly pace that Liverpool sorely lacks and desperately need. Liverpool’s biggest weakness is that we are painfully slow as a club. We have zero width in our side, especially with the loss of Martin Kelly, and now Glen Johnson to injuries, and who besides Luis Suarez, are the fastest players in the regular starting XI. Dirk Kuyt, ever the loyal servant, and hardest of workers, lacks what Liverpool truly need, and that is flair, pace, and class. For whatever reason, we field a wide array of internationals that do not exemplify what their countries are known for in footballers. We have Lucas, the Brazilian, who cannot dribble, shoot, or pass, Maxi, the Argentine, who cannot score, and Kuyt, the Dutchman, who cannot run. Now these players all have qualities that Liverpool need, but they are still essentially the same player. Hard workers who overcompensate for their lack of talent by working hard to make up for it, but are ultimately one-dimensional talents.
Despite all of this, our poor form, our lack of goals, our never-ending injury woes, Dani Pacheco has hardly featured for the senior side. We have seen other players given plenty of opportunities to play, only to see their performances fall short of what we expect from a Liverpool player. Yes, I’m talking about you David Ngog. Feel free to add Christian Poulson in there as well. Too many times have we seen a Liverpool side unable to break down 11 men behind the ball like we saw in the second leg of the Europa League match against Braga.
That game, more than anything else screamed for Dani Pacheco. Instead we made one sub to a side that never looked like scoring. Andy Carroll is not Fernando Torres, nor will he ever be. He is a big, physically gifted imposing striker, who requires service. He has yet to receive it in a Liverpool shirt. I cannot recall one cross coming from out wide that has found the big man’s head. It makes me scream, ‘where is Dani Pacheco?’ 18-year-old Jonjo Shelvey had ample opportunity to progress for Liverpool, yet the same was not said of an older, more talented Dani Pacheco. Jay Spearing continues to get run outs without truly looking like a Liverpool player. Why has Pachecho not been given one minute of playing time since Kenny’s return? Why has no one ever asked the great man about this? I have heard that some view Pacheco as too small to play in the Premier League. But I struggle with this excuse. Michael Owen is smaller than many teenagers. The greatest player on the planet, Lionel Messi is two whole inches shorter than Pacheco, and we’ve seen what that man can do against English backlines. I have heard that Pacheco is not a good trainer, and that he has a poor attitude during team training. But so did Ronaldo. THE Ronaldo, not that fancy pants one who plays in Spain. Ronaldo hated training so much he would hide, HIDE, in order to avoid some running and calisthenics. And if Pacheco is so poor in training why has he made the bench a handful of times?
Pacheco could be the greatest talent to come through our ranks since Michael Owen. A player who can play upfront, off the first striker, as an attacking midfielder, or out on the wing. The boy took all of Spain’s set-pieces during the 2010 European Under-19 Championship, surely he must possess a good delivery of the ball to whip in crosses from the flanks. But alas, we will not see young Dani this year as he has been loaned out to Norwich City, where after his first performance for the club, praised was heaped down on him. And I fear we will never again see Pacheco in a Liverpool shirt. Surely he is eager to begin his professional career, and a sale back to Spain seems likely, and frankly I cannot blame him if he leaves. Not one bit. Why we have developed the boy only to have another club reap the benefit is beyond me, especially when he fills such a huge void in what Liverpool desperately need. When he leaves in the summer, I only wish him the best, and I hope he goes on to show what a colossal mistake it was to leave him toiling away at the end of the bench, Liverpool in need of a goal, and no hope in scoring one. Let’s just hope he takes David Ngog with him!