The majority of Liverpool’s loanees were back in action this week, and it was an impressively productive seven days for those involved with Ryan Kent and Pedro Chirivella finding the net.
Kent has enjoyed a productive loan spell with Barnsley, and this continued in a solid week of action in which he scored a stunning second goal of the season.
The winger endured a tough midweek outing, turning in an ineffective display which saw him withdrawn after 76 minutes of the Tykes’ 2-1 FA Cup elimination at the hands of League Two side, Blackpool.
PHOTO: @ryankent celebrates after his goal in the Yorkshire derby here at Oakwell! #COYR pic.twitter.com/98NU54cyXB
— Barnsley FC (@BarnsleyFC) January 21, 2017
But Kent and his teammates bounced back fine fashion on Saturday, posting a 3-2 win over Yorkshire rivals, Leeds, which saw the Reds’ loanee cap off an impressive display with and outstanding individual goal.
Operating from his usual left-wing role, Kent controlled a cross from the right superbly with his back to goal before spinning away from his marker and drilling a left-foot finish into the far corner to put Barnsley 2-1 ahead.
Stunning strike from Ryan Kent! Sky Sports 1 now. Brought to you by @Screwfix https://t.co/1BpWEoT5zn
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 21, 2017
Prior to scoring, the youngster nearly grabbed an assist, but teammate Angus MacDonald could only head the 20-year-old’s pin-point free-kick at Leeds ‘keeper Rob Green.
Kent spoke last November of needing to improve his productivity in the second-half of the season, and he must build from here.
Pedro Chirivella was also on score-sheet this week, with the Spanish midfielder netting his first professional goal for Go Ahead Eagles in their Eredivisie relegation six-pointer against Excelsior, which ended 1-1.
Chirivella endured an unrewarding debut for the Eredivisie’s bottom club last week, playing the full 90 minutes of a 3-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar, but he enjoyed a much improved second outing, opening the scoring in the stalemate.
Though known more for his play-making than play-finishing, Chirivella showed impressive goal-scoring prowess as he arrived with perfect timing to nod home an excellent cross at the back post to give his team the lead.
The Spaniard will be disappointed his header didn’t prove to be the winner with his side pegged back, but the goal capped off a good individual performance which he will take confidence from for the rest of the campaign.
Elsewhere on the continent, Lazar Markovic’s nightmare spell at Sporting could come to a miserable end, with the Portuguese club reportedly considering cancelling his loan due to continued struggles with injury and form – which saw him left out of two games this week.
Back to better fortunes, it was a positive weekend for Liverpool’s loaned goalkeepers who both kept clean sheets.
In the Championship, Danny Ward posted a shut-out to help Huddersfield to a 2-0 success over Ipswich.
The Welshman had little to do in a game his team dominated, but his assuredness in dealing decisively with developing danger played a key part in a solid defensive performance which kept the Tractor Boys at bay.
And in League One, Ryan Fulton posted a positive first outing under new manager Gary Caldwell, keeping a second clean sheet in a row in Chesterfield’s goalless draw with Wimbledon.
Fulton has certainly had busier afternoons with the third-from-bottom Spireites, but in a largely uneventful game, he was alert to make some routine stops when called upon.
Also in the third tier, Lloyd Jones endured a frustrating afternoon as Swindon fell to a 1-0 loss to Peterborough on Saturday.
However, the centre-back produced a solid individual display as he played the full 90 minutes, impressing with his distribution from the back in particular – but he did pick up a booking in the second-half for a late tackle.
Jon Flanagan enjoyed positive FA Cup action but Premier League frustration at Burnley this week.
The defender played all 90 minutes of the Clarets’ 2-0 cup-replay success over Sunderland on Tuesday, operating at left-back for Sean Dyche’s side.
And Flanagan produced arguably his best outing in a Burnley shirt, turning in an untroubled defensive display to keep a clean sheet while also showing impressive attacking intent – signs that he is starting to rediscover match sharpness.
Frustratingly, Flanagan’s positive performance wasn’t enough to keep his place for Burnley’s 2-1 loss at Arsenal on Sunday, with the local lad an unused substitute.
Back to the Reds’ European loanees, Taiwo Awoniyi was an unused substitute for the second game running since the Eredivisie restarted, with the Nigerian watching NEC Nijmegen’s 2-0 win over Roda JC from the bench.
Meanwhile, Allan Rodrigues’ loan at Hertha Berlin has paused, as the talented midfielder is on international duty with Brazil U20s at the South American Youth Football Championship.
If Brazil make it all the way, Allan will be away from the Bundesliga club until February 11th, meaning he will have missed five games which could see him struggle for match action when he returns.
Finally, Andre Wisdom has yet to return from the winter break with Red Bull Salzburg, with the first competitive game back scheduled for 11th February.
Liverpool’s Loanees in Action
- Markovic – Sporting – Left out of matchday involvement vs. Chaves and Maritimo
- Flanagan – Burnley – Played 90mins vs. Sunderland & unused substitute vs. Arsenal
- Ward – Huddersfield – Played 90mins, keeping clean sheet vs. Ipswich
- Kent – Barnsley – Played 76mins vs. Blackpool & 90mins, scoring once, vs. Leeds
- Chirivella – Go Ahead Eagles – Played 90mins and scored vs. Excelsior
- Jones – Swindon – Played 90mins vs. Peterborough
- Fulton – Chesterfield – Played 90mins, keeping clean sheet vs. AFC Wimbledon
- Awoniyi – NEC Nijmegen – Unused sub vs. Roda JC
- Allan – Hertha Berlin – N/A – On international duty with Brazil U20s
- Wisdom – Red Bull Salzburg – Still on winter break