There was both agony and ecstasy among Liverpool’s loanees this week, as Jack Dunn suffered Wembley heartbreak but Andre Wisdom claimed league title glory.
Wisdom marked what has developed into a fantastic spell at Red Bull Salzburg by claiming the Austrian Bundesliga title on Saturday.
An adductor injury unfortunately ruled the Reds’ centre-back out of the defining 1-0 victory over Rapid Vienna, which proved enough for Red Bull’s to clinch a fourth league triumph in a row.
— FC Red Bull Salzburg (@RedBullSalzburg) May 15, 2017
Oscar Garcia’s men saw the job through despite the key defender’s absence, continuing the fine form Wisdom has helped inspire in a magnificent second-half of the season in which Salzburg have stormed to success.
Salzburg’s focus will now turn to the Austrian Cup final – also to be contested against Rapid Vienna – and Wisdom will be desperate to shake off injury and earn his place back to help secure a historic double.
After waiting seven months for a goal, Taiwo Awoniyi remarkably netted a second in as many games to help NEC Nijmegen sign off the regular Eredivisie season with a 2-0 win at Herenveen.
The teenager started among the substitutes despite his match-winning heroics last time out, but he delighted with his impact from the bench for a second game running as he rose to double his side’s lead.
After a looping corner was delivered deep to the back-post and headed back into the mix, Awoniyi reacted superbly inside a congested six-yard box to steer his header into the roof of the net.
The Nigerian will have the chance to continue his hot-streak in NEC’s impending relegation play-off against second-tier side Emmen, in which he will look to make himself a hero again as his side seek survival.
On home soil, Jack Dunn was denied the dream ending to his time at Tranmere Rovers after suffering Wembley heart-break with a 3-1 play-off final loss to Forest Green Rovers.
The striker started the final showdown at the so-called ‘Home of Football’ on the bench, but was introduced on 53 minutes with Rovers already trailing 3-1 after all goals came in a blistering first-half.
But Dunn couldn’t provide the inspiration for a fight-back despite producing an impressive cameo, in which he fired a couple of decent shots at goal and created a clear chance with a great cross which his teammate couldn’t convert.
It was a gut-wrenching end to a loan that has been blighted by injuries for Dunn, who made only seven appearances without scoring due to the persistent niggles.
With Jon Flanagan unused at Burnley, it was another action-less week for the Reds top-flight loanees as Mamadou Sakho and Lazar Markovic saw seasons end early due to injury – which you can read in full detail here.
Sakho finishes at Crystal Palace with eight appearances and having almost single-handedly dragged the Eagles to safety with five wins in those games, the Frenchman is – somewhat remarkably – up for the Player of the Season award.
Meanwhile, it’s also a frustrating end to a bright spell for Markovic, who rediscovered some promising form under Marco Silva at relegated Hull City.
— Lazar Markovi? (@LMarkec50) May 12, 2017
The Serbian played 14 times and claimed two goals for the Tigers, and he will hope his improved form persuades Klopp to give him one last chance to prove his worth on return to Anfield.
Back to the Reds around Europe, and the season came to an unrewarding end for Pedro Chirivella at Go Ahead Eagles, who ended a dire season with a 3-1 loss to Sparta Rotterdam.
The Spaniard completed another 90 minutes – doing so in all but one game – and he was in bright form in his play-making as he produced four key passes, but was still unable to prevent his relegated team from a sixth straight loss.
It brings an end to what has been a productive – and no doubt eye-opening – spell for Chirivella, who impressed from an individual perspective as he made 16 appearances, claiming two goals and assists in a struggling team.
In the Bundesliga, Allan Rodrigues returned to the starting XI for Hertha Berlin’s penultimate game of the season, which ended in a 2-0 win over Darmstadt.
The Brazilian featured in a two-man centre as manager Pal Dardai opted for a 4-4-2 formation, and Allan took to his extra defensive work particularly well as he turned in another combative display – making the most tackles and interceptions of any Hertha player.
Elsewhere, Brooks Lennon was uninvolved in Real Salt Lake’s 4-0 loss to New England Revolution, as the striker joined up with the U.S. Under-20 team for final preparations ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Off to South Korea for the u20 World Cup. Excited to represent the USA?? #U20WC
— Brooks Lennon (@brookslennon) May 10, 2017
And finally, Championship loanee Danny Ward missed Huddersfield’s play-off first leg goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday due to suspension.
With stand-in ‘keeper Joel Coleman having kept a clean sheet, boss David Wagner faces a big call over whether to restore Ward for Wednesday’s make-or-break second-leg, which you can see live on Sky Sports 3 with kick-off at 7:45pm.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Week
- Sakho – Crystal Palace – Season over due to injury; ended with 8 apps
- Markovic – Hull – Season over due to injury; ended with 12 apps & 2 goals
- Flanagan – Burnley – Unused sub vs. Bournemouth
- Wisdom – Red Bull Salzburg – Injured for title win vs. Rapid Vienna
- Ward – Huddersfield – Suspended for play-off first leg vs. Sheffield Wednesday
- Allan – Hertha Berlin – Played 90mins vs. Darmstadt
- Awoniyi – NEC Nijmegen – Played 35mins & scored vs. Heerenveen
- Chirivella – Go Ahead Eagles – Played 90mins vs. Sparta Rotterdam
- Lennon – Real Salt Lake – Uninvolved vs. New England Revolution due to international duty
- Dunn – Tranmere – Played 37mins of play-off final vs. Forest Green