We take a look at how the loaned members of Liverpool’s squad performed for their temporary clubs throughout the week, with a good spell of action for the majority.
Mario Balotelli marked his return to AC Milan’s starting lineup with a goal in their 5-0 Coppa Italia semi-final win over Allessandria in midweek.
Leading the Rossoneri front line, the Italy striker notched his team’s fifth of the night, breaking the offside trap and calmly slotting home to confirm Milan’s place in the final for the first time in 13 years.
Balotelli’s positive display saw him keep his shirt against Sassuolo on Sunday, but it turned into an afternoon to forget for the 25-year-old, hauled off for an ineffective display after just 55 minutes of the 2-0 defeat, wasting a chance to prove his worth to boss Sinisa Mihajlovic.
After remaining on the bench in Deportivo La Coruna’s 4-1 loss to Athletic Bilbao in midweek,Luis Alberto returned on Saturday, marking his comeback with an assist in their 3-3 draw against Malaga.
Alberto set up his side’s second of the night, keeping composed when under pressure from two opposing players, before turning brilliantly and feeding the ball wide to Cartabia Fede, who drove inside on his left foot and slotted home to make it 2-2.
After helping his side to a derby victory against Partizan last time out, Marko Grujic ’s Red Star Belgrade took another step towards securing the Serbian Super League title with a 3-1 win over Jagodina.
The 19-year-old lined up in an attacking-midfield role, showing his versatility, from where he acted as a driving force as Red Star moved 29 points clear at the top of the table.
Back in the English leagues, Sergi Canos endured a week of mixed fortunes for club and country.
The Spaniard celebrated his second cap for Spain’s U19s in midweek with a memorable first international win at the age group with a 2-1 friendly victory over Serbia, but his return to the Championship wasn’t quite as enjoyable.
Canos’ Brentford lost 2-1 in a London derby to Charlton Athletic, but the youngster still showed his talent, creating a clear-cut chance with a brilliant turn and pass which went to waste in the first half, before missing a gilt-edged opportunity to score when one-on-one in the second period.
It was yet another positive week of action for Liverpool’s young loaned goalkeepers.
But first, there was a welcome return to matchday involvement for Lloyd Jones at Blackpool, who the defender has re-joined after recovering from a serious ankle injury.
Though he didn’t feature in the Tangerine’s 3-0 loss to Millwall, it is fantastic to see the 20-year-old back involved and closing on a return to action after an undoubtedly frustrating and testing period out.
Lawrence Vigouroux helped Swindon to a fourth straight win on Tuesday, keeping a clean sheet in the Robins’ 2-0 victory over Doncaster – the Chilean’s only game time this week, with Saturday’s fixture against Oldham being postponed due to snow.
And in League Two, Scottish ‘keeper Ryan Fulton completed the week unbeaten between the sticks for Portsmouth, picking up his first clean sheet in the process.
The youngster helped Pompey to a point at Exeter, in a 1-1 draw, where he conceded a late equaliser in midweek, before then inspiring his side to a 2-0 win against Stevenage, making one fantastic stop in particular from a free-kick to keep his side ahead.
Oppositely, it was a flat week for Liverpool’s European loaned men.
Allan Rodrigues endured another disappointing outing, playing only the final 15 minutes of Sint Truident’s 3-0 defeat to Club Brugge on Saturday – naturally having little time or chance to make an impact with his side 2-0 down upon his entrance.
More positively however, the youngster was called up to Brazil’s U20s squad, for whom he will hope to make a better impression than he has in Belgium so far.
Taiwo Awoniyi continued his recent flurry of game time, making his third consecutive start for Frankfurt in midweek in their eventful 3-3 draw with Duisburg, of which the Nigerian played 82 minutes.
But after a quiet performance, the striker – who has been called up to Nigeria’s U23 squad for friendlies in preparation for the Olympics – dropped to the bench for Saturday’s clash with Union Berlin, entering into a thankless task for the last 23 minutes of the 4-0 loss.
And in Switzerland, Samed Yesil, was unable to rescue his side from exiting the Swiss Cup at the hands of Lugano on Wednesday in the 10 minutes he played, losing 2-1, before disappointingly remaining an unused substitute on Saturday in a heavy 5-2 defeat to Young Boys.
Meanwhile, there was no game time for academy graduate Will Marsh at Sheffield Wednesday, with the Owls’ U21 fixture against Barnsley postponed.
Liverpool’s Loaned Men This Week
- Balotelli – AC Milan – Played 90 mins and scored vs. Allessandria & 55 mins vs. Sassuolo
- Alberto – Deportivo – Played 90 mins and assisted vs. Malaga
- Grujic – Red Star – Played 90 mins vs. Jagodina
- Canos – Brentford – Played 45 mins vs. Serbia & 71 mins vs. Charlton
- Vigouroux – Swindon – Played 90 mins and clean sheet vs. Doncaster
- Jones – Blackpool – Unused sub vs. Millwall
- Fulton – Portsmouth – Played 90 mins vs. Exeter & 90 mins and clean sheet vs. Stevenage
- Allan – Sint Truident – Played 15 mins vs. Brugge
- Awoniyi – Frankfurt – Played 23 mins vs. Union Berlin
- Yesil – Luzern – Played 10 mins vs. Lugano & unused sub vs. Young Boys
- Marsh – Sheffield Wednesday – N/A
Lazar Markovic continues to be sidelined, missing Fenerbahce’s Turkish cup quarter-final victory this weekend, while Andre Wisdom remains out with a knee injury and Jordan Williams missed another week of action.
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