Brendan Rodgers has reiterated the long-term planning and belief in Liverpool midfielder Luis Alberto, encouraging the young Spaniard to keep working in order to gain a chance.

The versatile No.6 was the first player to finalise a switch to the Reds last summer, with the manager swooping to seal a deal for the talented youngster from La Liga outfit Sevilla.

Fans were afforded a maiden opportunity to watch the 21-year-old up close when he made his debut against Notts County in a League Cup encounter at Anfield last August.

Within weeks, Alberto had struck an outstanding hat-trick for the club's U21s on home soil, although the relentless form of the first team has limited his senior appearances to 12 this season.

The manager reflected: "It's probably been a difficult season for Luis because he hasn't had many opportunities to make an impact. But he needs to keep working.

"He's still a very young player and he does have quality. It shows you the level of where we are at. It was a signing for the long term - that was the idea.

"He's a young player who has come in and sampled life at a big club and made a contribution. He will stay with the group for the rest of the season and then we will review his development come the summer."

Alberto has not been included in a first-team matchday squad since Liverpool dismantled Arsenal 5-1 in L4 on February 8, watching from the sidelines as Rodgers' charges have won eight straight matches.

The boss' meritocratic approach to training and squad selection has seen the likes of Joao Carlos Teixeira make the step up recently - with new opportunities available on a weekly basis.

"I look at training and assess it every day," the Northern Irishman continued. "Luis is working hard but we've had young players coming in and making an impact like Joao, who has been exceptional.

"I'm always looking at the dynamic of the squad and it changes from week to week depending on the game."