With the Football League season starting at the weekend, six of Liverpool’s loaned men kicked off their seasons away from Anfield throughout the divisions.
The Wales international, taking the No. 1 shirt, started for David Wagner’s side at the John Smith’s Stadium, and he turned in an assured display, instantly impressing the home faithful with his shot-stopping and composure.
Ward made a sharp save at his near post in the first half and a smart stop from a free-kick after the break, and while he will naturally be disappointed to have conceded—though it was a good finish—it was certainly a positive start to the season with a first three points.
That's the start we wanted! Fans were top draw ????
— Danny Ward (@dan_ward52) August 6, 2016
However, it wasn’t quite the positive start hoped for elsewhere in the Championship, with Ryan Kent’s promoted Barnsley going down 4-2 at Ipswich Town on Saturday.
Promisingly, the Reds winger started on the right of midfield and enjoyed a 73-minute runout on his second-tier debut, but he couldn’t make the impact hoped, spending much of his time doing defensive work as the home side put Kent’s men to the sword.
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) July 30, 2016
Kent did pick up his first yellow card of the season in the first half, before being withdrawn in the second period with his team 3-1 down.
It was a similarly disappointing return to the second tier for Adam Bogdan at Wigan Athletic, with the Latics losing 2-1 at Bristol City in their season opener.
Like Ward, the Hungarian instantly commanded the No. 1 shirt at his new club, but oppositely to the Welshman, it wasn’t a debut to remember for Bogdan, who conceded twice in the last 10 minutes as his side surrendered the lead.
Though perhaps harsh to apportion full blame to Bogdan, he should have done better with City’s first goal—turning a weak shot behind which he should have held, before then going missing at the resulting corner which was headed past him.
However, the last-gasp winner he could do nothing about, seeing a deflected strike fly past him after he made a sharp initial stop.
There was another Reds goalkeeping debut in League One, with Ryan Fulton helping Chesterfield to an opening day 1-1 draw at newly promoted Oxford United.
Though not at fault for Oxford’s goal, with some questionable defending not helping, the young stopper may feel he could have done better, parrying an angled drive into his six-yard box where it was tapped home—rather than holding it or pushing away from goal.
But overall it was a positive debut in the third tier and for his new club for Fulton.
Also in League One, Lloyd Jones was left out of Swindon’s matchday squad for their opening 1-0 win over Coventry, due to his paperwork not being completed before Friday’s deadline.
— Morecambe FC (@ShrimpsOfficial) July 30, 2016
And in League Two, Jack Dunn couldn’t help Morecambe to a winning start, with his side losing 2-0 to Football League returnees, Grimsby Town.
The Reds striker, out on loan for the first time since joining Burton Albion in March 2015, started up top for the Shrimps but endured a tough afternoon with little service, which saw him replaced after 67 minutes of the loss.
— Hertha BSC (@HerthaBSC) August 5, 2016
Allan was in friendly action with Hertha BSC on Saturday as his side beat Al Jazira 3-2 in their final warmup clash.
The Brazilian started for his new club and enjoyed a decent outing in a central midfield role, though he gave away a penalty which put his side 2-1 down, before limping off a few minutes before the end with injury.
The 20-year-old will hope to shrug that off in time for Berlin’s DFB-Pokal clash with Jahn Regensburg next week.
Flanagan watched on from the stands as Burnley drew 1-1 with Real Socieded at Turf Moor on Friday, with the full-back not involved due to his loan move being completed just hours before kickoff.
Meanwhile, Awoniyi was absent from Nijmegen’s squad for their Eredivisie opener against FC Zwolle on Friday night, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Liverpool’s Loaned Players This Week
- Ward – Huddersfield – Played 90 mins vs. Brentford
- Kent – Barnsley – Played 73 mins vs. Ipswich
- Bogdan – Wigan – Played 90 mins vs. Bristol City
- Fulton – Chesterfield – Played 90mins vs. Oxford
- Dunn – Morecambe – Played 67 mins vs. Grimsby
- Allan – Hertha Berlin – Played 88 mins vs. Al Jazira
- Jones – Swindon – N/A
- Flanagan – Burnley – N/A
- Awoniyi – NEC Nijmegen – N/A