Given the impact Jordon Ibe has had since being recalled early from a season loan at Derby County, we take a look at Liverpool’s other loaned players and assess whether any can also impact the first-team squad next season.
Liverpool currently have six senior players away on season-long loan spells.
Loan moves can offer several opportunities for players, such as a means of development or a way out of a precarious situation at a parent club without significant financial outlay.
Liverpool utilise the loan system for both means — alarmingly, it seems to be more prevalent that the club allows their players out on loan as a consignment to their failure at the club, and in extension another failure by the club in the transfer market.
Another clutch of senior stars left Anfield this summer on temporary moves, and it can be argued that only a few will return to Brendan Rodgers’ squad next season.
Sebastian Coates, Tiago Ilori, Andre Wisdom, Joao Carlos Teixeira, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas make up the six-strong group, but who has a future at Liverpool when they return?
We assess each player’s current fortunes on loan and their position in the Liverpool squad, allocating a YES or NO verdict on their chances on Merseyside in 2015/16.
Sebastian Coates (Sunderland)
Towering centre-back Coates made the claim to a place in the Liverpool squad with some strong, versatile showings during pre-season, and it was somewhat of a surprise when he was shipped off on loan to Sunderland at the end of the summer transfer window.
Coates has made just four appearances for the Black Cats this season and, despite an impressive showing in the Tyne-Wear derby victory in December, has failed to trouble regular centre-backs Wes Brown and John O’Shea for a first-team place.
Liverpool arguably still require a strong right-sided centre-back, with Emre Can’s long-term future likely in a midfield role.
However, due to Coates’ struggles with injury and form at Sunderland, Liverpool are unlikely to find a role for the defender on his return to Merseyside.
Tiago Ilori (Bordeaux)
Another centre-back to leave Liverpool on a temporary basis this season is Portuguese prospect Ilori, who joined Bordeaux on a development loan in August.
This came after a relatively successful spell with Granada in 2014, but this season Ilori has suffered with injuries, limiting him to just seven appearances in all competitions.
However, before Ilori’s move to La Liga, Rodgers described how he was “one for the future,” highlighting him along with fellow 2013 signing Mamadou Sakho as a means to “protect the present and the future of the club.”
As mentioned, Liverpool still need a right centre-back, and Ilori is arguably the reason why Rodgers has neglected this area in the transfer market—he could partner Sakho in the future.
Andre Wisdom (West Bromwich Albion)
Like Ilori, Andre Wisdom joined his loan club, West Bromwich Albion, this season with a view to developing as a Liverpool player.
On moving to the Premier League outfit in July, Rodgers described Wisdom’s loan as “another chance for his education and development to continue,” following a successful spell with Derby County in 2013/14.
At West Brom, Wisdom has been a hugely impressive feature at right-back, making 21 appearances so far, keeping eight clean sheets.
What has been most encouraging along with this stability is Wisdom’s desire to help the Baggies in the attacking phase, which suggest he would suit Liverpool’s wing-back system in the 3-4-2-1.
Also able to play at centre-back, Wisdom could provide a versatile rotational option next season.
Joao Carlos Teixeira (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Rodgers surprised many by handing midfielder Joao Carlos Teixeira a first-team debut last season, in February’s 3-2 win away to Fulham, and the former Sporting Lisbon man duly impressed.
That was to be his only appearance for the Reds last season, but proved an encouraging sign.
Currently enjoying success at Brighton & Hove Albion this season, with four goals and three assists in 18 Championship games, it could be argued that Teixeira could benefit from the departure of fellow attacking midfielder Suso next season.
Teixeira is more hard working and robust than Suso but, at 22 years old, is unlikely to break back into the Liverpool team next season.
His development has come just too late, and Liverpool have moved on without him.
Luis Alberto (Malaga)
Luis Alberto is another, like Teixeira, whose Liverpool development may have been surpassed by the side’s progress on the pitch during his absence.
However, Alberto’s position under Rodgers seems more of a mystery, given Liverpool’s £8 million outlay on the midfielder ahead of the 2013/14 season.
When fielded, Alberto impressed with his incisive passing and attacking bent but, was limited to just nine substitute appearances; this season in La Liga, the midfielder has been similarly marginalised.
It is hard to imagine Alberto will break into that group next season.
Iago Aspas (Sevilla)
Discussing the future of Iago Aspas seems futile, given the circumstances in which the striker left the club.
Roundly considered a committee mistake, Aspas’ failure to make a mark at Anfield was unfortunately compounded by a miserable attempt at a corner in Liverpool’s loss to Chelsea in April.
Aspas scored no goals and made just one assists in 14 Premier League appearances last season.
Although Aspas has impressed in loan-club Sevilla’s cup competitions this season, including a four-minute hat-trick in their 5-1 Copa del Rey win over Sabadell, he has made just eight appearances in La Liga, all as a substitute.
Liverpool will need to sign a striker in the summer and, although Aspas’ cup heroics prove there is ability deep in that shrinking Spanish striker, he is not the calibre of goal-scorer the club needs.
Do you agree with our verdict on Liverpool’s loan players? Let us know in the comments below.