It was a week of typically mixed fortunes for Liverpool’s remaining 10 loanees, but most of those who enjoyed match action impressed, including Andre Wisdom.
Wisdom made a winning comeback to the Red Bull Salzburg side after two games uninvolved, helping his team to successive victories in league and European competition.
In the first of those, the Reds defender played a key role in keeping a clean sheet to earn a 2-0 Europa League win over Schalke—but the success wasn’t enough to prevent their exit from the competition.
Wisdom started the final group clash in his preferred centre-back role, and he produced a resilient and determined display at the heart of defence—making the most clearances of any player.
The 23-year-old dropped to the bench for the league return against Sturm Graz on Sunday, but he entered as a second-half substitute to play a part in a narrow 1-0 win.
A red card after 70 minutes forced manager Oscar Garcia into a reshuffle, and he introduced Wisdom for a nervy final period in which the Reds loanee and his team-mates defended resolutely, throwing bodies on the line to hold on for a second win in four days.
Lloyd Jones didn’t enjoy as positive results at Swindon, but he still drew plaudits from his manager for his performance.
After being rested for the EFL Trophy in midweek, Jones returned for League One action on Saturday, but endured a tough afternoon as his team lost 4-0 at Sheffield United.
Though the scoreline suggests otherwise, the 20-year-old marked his comeback at centre-back with a spirited display against the division’s second-most prolific attack, showing bravery and determination as he did all he could.
And for that, Jones, and his central partner, earned praise from manager Luke Williams.
“I think the two centre-backs gave everything and they didn’t hide at all,” he said. “It’s disappointing that we have lost the game so heavily and the two central defenders have been outstanding at times.”
Back on the continent, Lazar Markovic’s struggles at Sporting CP continued, with the Serbian again in poor from.
Markovic started his side’s dead-rubber Champions League clash against Legia Warsaw on Wednesday—which they lost 1-0—on the left of a three-man attack in a 3-4-3 formation.
But the 22-year-old was again extremely unimpressive as he failed to impose himself on proceedings—looking like a man lacking belief and not enjoying his football—which resulted in his withdrawal after just 60 minutes.
The poor showing saw Markovic left out Sporting’s matchday squad for Sunday’s Lisbon derby with Benfica, thus missing out on a return to the club from which Liverpool signed him.
Back to more positive fortunes, it was a winning weekend all round for the Reds’ Championship stars.
Danny Ward continued as Huddersfield No. 1 and helped end a five-game winless run with a 2-1 victory over Bristol City.
— Danny Ward (@dan_ward52) December 7, 2016
The Welshman had little to do as his side controlled the game on home turf, but he dealt positively with what he had to producing some routine goalkeeping, and he could do nothing about Bristol’s equaliser—beaten by a close-range finish.
And Ryan Kent also tasted success, playing his part in Barnsley’s impressive 2-1 win over Norwich City.
The 20-year-old played from the left wing and was in decent form—offering bright moments in attack in a first half his side dominated, and also digging in to assist with defensive duties when required as his side battled hard in the second period.
A tireless performance saw Kent substituted in stoppage time as Barnsley ran the clock down to hold on for a first three points at home since August.
Another Great Result Today Vs Norwich! Good To See The Brother @JacobMurphy95 ????
— RyanKent (@ryankent) December 10, 2016
Back in the Football League, Ryan Fulton endured another tough week at struggling Chesterfield, who sunk to second from bottom in League One with an eighth loss in 10 games.
Following a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers last week, he lost his place for the EFL Trophy clash with Rochdale in midweek, which the Spireites won 2-0.
But the young stopper returned to the starting lineup against Peterborough United on Saturday, and it wasn’t a comeback to remember as he shipped five times in a 5-2 loss.
Fingers will point in Fulton’s direction after conceding five goals, but there was little he could about any effort conceded—beaten by some stunning long-range strikes and clinical finishing on a day almost everything Peterborough hit found the net.
Also in the lower divisions, Sam Hart returned to matchday involvement for Port Vale but was an unused substitute in their 3-2 loss to Northampton Town.
There was also further frustration for European loanees Taiwo Awoniyi and Allan Rodrigues, who were both unused this weekend for NEC Nijmegen and Hertha Berlin respectively.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Week
- Lazar Markovic – Sporting – Played 60 mins vs. Legia Warsaw & left out vs. Benfica
- Jon Flanagan – Burnley – Unused sub vs. Bournemouth
- Andre Wisdom – Salzburg – Played 90 mins, keeping clean sheet vs. Schalke & 20 mins vs. Sturm Graz
- Danny Ward – Huddersfield – Played 90 mins vs. Bristol City
- Ryan Kent – Barnsley – Played 90 mins vs. Norwich
- Lloyd Jones – Swindon – Left out vs. Luton & Played 90 mins vs. Sheff Utd
- Ryan Fulton – Chesterfield – Unused sub vs. Rochdale & Played 90 mins vs. Peterborough
- Sam Hart – Port Vale – Unused sub vs. Northampton
- Taiwo Awoniyi – Nijmegen – Unused sub vs. ADO Den Haag
- Allan Rodrigues – Hertha Berlin – Unused sub vs. Werder Bremen