It was a largely frustrating week for Liverpool’s loanees, but Lazar Markovic was again in impressive form and Andre Wisdom made a winning comeback at Red Bull Salzburg.
Markovic was the only Premier League loanee to enjoy match action this week, with Mamadou Sakho and Jon Flanagan unused substitutes at Crystal Palace and Burnley respectively.
And the Serbian continued his positive opening at Hull with another eye-catching individual display as the Tigers went down 2-0 at Arsenal.
Markovic’s pace and direct running with and without the ball caused Arsenal’s defence countless problems – none more so than Kieran Gibbs who should have seen red for fouling the winger as last man – and the 22-year-old created Hull’s two best chances.
After breezing past Laurent Koscielny he rolled a teasing ball across the face of goal that just evaded the lurking Oumar Niasse, and after the break, he delivered a fine cross to pick out the Everton loanee, who could only shoot at Petr Cech.
Markovic was one of the brightest attacking players at the Emirates Stadium and his positive form has been great to see, but he now needs to produce this level consistently.
On the continent, Wisdom made the perfect return from the winter break, by helping Red Bull Salzburg move to the top of the Austrian Bundesliga with a 2-0 win over St Polten.
Wisdom played all 90 minutes in his natural centre-back position, and he justified Oscar Garcia’s selection by producing a near-faultless defensive performance which saw a clean sheet earned.
The 23-year-old was solid for the majority of the game, but he was fortunate his error didn’t lead directly to a goal in the second-half – his goalkeeper making a big save one-on-one to bail Wisdom out after he lost possession on the edge of his own box.
Wisdom’s winning comeback came as all three Europe-based loanees enjoyed extended action this weekend, but success was very much contrasting for the Eredivisie duo.
Pedro Chirivella was again a positive as he helped Go Ahead Eagles build on a first win since November with a second in a row over ADO Den Haag.
The Spaniard, playing on the right of a narrow central three, turned in a less influential display than recent outings, but still provided a composed figure in the 3-1 win – using his technical ability to orchestrate play, as illustrated by his impressive 91 percent pass completion rate.
Meanwhile, Taiwo Awoniyi enjoyed a rare run-out for NEC Nijmegen, entering as a first-half substitute to play 50 minutes of his side’s 2-0 loss PEC Zwolle.
But the Nigerian’s outing wasn’t as rewarding as his Anfield teammate’s, with Awoniyi passing up a big opportunity to show manager Peter Hyballa why he deserves more game-time with a poor display of finishing that cost his team dearly.
With the score goalless, Awoniyi missed two gilt-edged chances to open the scoring – first failing to connect from six-yards out when arriving unmarked, before then making matters worse by failing to convert from only two yards out at the second attempt.
With Nijmegen later going on to concede twice and suffer defeat, it would be no surprise to see Awoniyi back on the bench next time out.
Back on home soil, it was a typically mixed week for Liverpool’s Championship loaned men.
But after a couple of indifferent displays, Danny Ward was back to his best for Huddersfield, playing a key part in a 2-1 win over QPR which moved the Terriers to third place.
The Wales international produced a fine shot-stopping display at Loftus Road, making two vital saves to protect Huddersfield’s one-goal lead – the first of which was a sensational stop.
With QPR pushing for an equaliser, Ward reacted superbly to tip a strike that seemed destined for his top corner round his near post, and late on he made a crucial block-save with his foot, doing really well to keep sight of a shot fired through a crowd of players.
Great support from the away fans today, non stop from the first whistle! Gritty performance from the boyos, on to Tuesday!! ??? #UTT
— Danny Ward (@dan_ward52) February 11, 2017
Meanwhile, Ryan Kent, surprisingly, dropped to Barnsley’s bench against Reading, featuring only as an 89th minute substitute in the goalless draw on Saturday.
There was disappointment for Liverpool’s lower league borrowed men, with only one of the Reds quartet enjoying match action.
After missing Tranmere’s 4-1 FA Trophy replay win over Chelmsford in midweek, Jack Dunn was the only man to play, featuring in 76 minutes of an eventful 2-2 draw with Bromley on Saturday.
The striker marked his full debut playing in a right-wing role and he turned in a bright display, particularly in the first-half, carrying a big threat and firing some good efforts at goal that forced Bromley’s goalkeeper into action.
However, Ryan Fulton missed Chesterfield’s loss to Northampton due to illness, while Cameron Brannagan was an unused substitute in Fleetwood’s goalless draw with Rochdale.
Finally, Lloyd Jones was left out of Swindon’s loss at Bury, reportedly despite being fit, in order for the Robins to not exceed the limit on loanees allowed in matchday squads – a decision they may regret judging by the result.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Week
- Markovic – Hull – Played 90mins vs. Arsenal
- Sahko – Crystal Palace – Unused sub vs. Stoke
- Flanagan – Burnley – Unused sub vs. Chelsea
- Ward – Huddersfield – Played 90mins vs. QPR
- Kent – Barnsley – Played stoppage time vs. Reading
- Wisdom – Red Bull Salzburg – Played 90mins vs. St Polten
- Chirivella – Go Ahead Eagles – Played 90mins vs. Den Haag
- Awoniyi – NEC Nijmegen – Played 50mins vs. PEC Zwolle
- Brannagan – Fleetwood – Unused sub vs. Rochdale
- Fulton – Chesterfield – Left out of matchday squad due to illness
- Jones – Swindon – Left out of matchday squad due to loanees limit
- Dunn – Tranmere – Left out of matchday squad vs. Chelmsford & Played 76mins vs. Bromley
- Allan – Hertha Berlin – On international duty with Brazil U20s at the South American Youth Championship