We take a look at how Liverpool’s borrowed men fared for their current clubs this week, with an improved seven days of action and productivity from the loanees.
Having been left out of AC Milan’s 2-1 loss to Verona on Monday, Mario Balotelli returned for Sunday’s 3-3 draw against Frosinone, and the Italian had an eventful afternoon on his comeback.
Producing a busy performance up front alongside Carlos Bacca, Balotelli missed the chance to claim a goal for his efforts early in the second half, stepping up to strike a weak penalty to the ‘keeper’s right that was easily saved – miss that looked costly with Milan 2-0 down at the time.
Balotelli amended some of the damage by helping reduce the two-goal deficit to 3-2 shortly after, his corner being acrobatically finished by Luca Antonelli.
As the contest drew to a close in the 90th minute, he then won the penalty – his shot hitting an opponents’ hand – that ultimately rescued a point, as Jeremy Menez this time took and scored from the spot.
But Balotelli hadn’t finished yet, and he so nearly struck a sensational winner in stoppage time, with a thunderous hit smashing back off the crossbar after a driving run, denying the 25-year-old a stunning, match-winning goal.
— Sergi Canós Tenés (@sergicanos) April 30, 2016
The week wasn’t quite as eventful for Sergi Canos, but it was certainly positive for the youngster as he enjoyed two games for Brentford.
The Spaniard played 80 minutes on the left of the Bees’ attack in their 2-0 loss to promotion chasing Hull City on Tuesday night, but he enjoyed a more impactful outing and claimed an assist in the Bees’ 3-0 west London derby win over Fulham in his final outing at Griffin Park.
It was down to Canos’ good work that the day started brilliantly for the home side, as just five minutes in the Reds’ prospect pressed and won possession before driving inside and rolling an inviting pass for team-mate Sam Saunders to finish, making it 1-0.
The industry of the teenager set the tone for an excellent 90 minutes, in which he was denied scoring himself by a good save at the near post, before then being on the receiving end of some rough defending that should have seen a penalty awarded as he wrestled his way through on goal late on.
Wow? That was incredible!! Last game for me in Griffin Park… Will always be in my??. Thanks for everything. What a year has been for me…
— Sergi Canós Tenés (@sergicanos) April 30, 2016
Elsewhere in the Football League, Lloyd Jones was again uninvolved for Blackpool in their 4-0 loss to Wigan on Saturday, while Ryan Fulton was also out of action for Portsmouth, injured for their 2-0 win against Hartlepool with a thigh issue.
Moving on to the Reds’ European-based loanees, there was positive news in Spain as Luis Alberto returned to action for Deportivo de La Coruna after missing two matches with a thigh issue.
The 23-year-old resumed attacking-midfield duties for the visit of relegation battlers Getafe, and he nearly marked his comeback with a goal, seeing a curling effort – destined for the bottom corner – brilliantly tipped around the post as he completed the full 90 minutes.
Finishing the full game was about the only plus point on a return to forget as Depor slumped to a poor 2-0 defeat that drags them into the battle to stay in La Liga.
Marko Grujic continued his comeback from a concerning ankle injury this week, playing 72 minutes of Red Star Belgrade’s 2-1 loss against Cukaricki on Wednesday night.
The 19-year-old was deployed in an advanced midfield role but didn’t enjoy his most influential appearance – with only a booking to show from his duration on the pitch – culminating in his withdrawal as his team finally suffered their first loss of the season.
In Germany, Taiwo Awoniyi‘s positive spell of game time continued at Frankfurt this weekend, as he completed his fourth full game out of the last five against Kaiserslautern on Friday night.
Frustratingly, it wasn’t the only run that continued with the Nigerian enduring another outing without a goal in an ineffective display as his side lost 4-1 – leaving the teenager with only one strike and another assist to his name in 11 appearances.
Also in on the continent, Allan Rodrigues was an unused substitute in Sint Trudense’s penultimate game of the season – a 1-1 draw against Mechelen – while Samed Yesil was left out of the matchday squad for Luzern’s draw with Lugano.
Liverpool’s Loaned Men This Week
- Balotelli – AC Milan – Played 90 mins & missed penalty vs. Verona
- Alberto – Deportivo – Played 90 mins vs. Getafe
- Canos – Brentford – Played 80 mins vs. Hull & 90 mins vs. Fulham, claiming assist
- Grujic – Red Star – Played 72 mins vs. Cukaricki
- Awoniyi – Frankfurt – Played 90 mins vs. Kaiserslautern
- Allan – Sint Truidense – Unused sub vs. Mechelen
- Jones – Blackpool – Left out of matchday squad vs. Wigan
- Fulton – Portsmouth – Left out of matchday squad vs. Hartlepool
- Yesil – Luzern – Left out of matchday squad vs. Lugano
Andre Wisdom became the latest loanee to see his season ended prematurely, with the defender returning to Liverpool from his Norwich spell due to a knee problem.
Meanwhile, Lazar Markovic, Lawrence Vigouroux and Jordan Williams all remain sidelined.