Kent impresses with match-winning assist & Virtue sees red – Liverpool FC Loan Watch

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It was a busy week for Liverpool’s loanees but one of very mixed fortunes, as Ryan Kent impressed but Matty Virtue was sent off.

It’s been a productive spell in recent weeks for the Reds’ borrowed men and that continued with another busy week of action.

Seven loanees featured—as did Naby Keita—as only two available Reds, academy duo Corey Whelan and Andy Firth, didn’t play.

Divock Origi and Sheyi Ojo were sidelined.

Here’s how those who were in action fared throughout the week.


One Red was in excellent form…

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 12, 2017: Liverpool's Ryan Kent in action against Tranmere Rovers during a preseason friendly match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kent’s spell at Bristol City sparked to life with two impressive outings—the second of which saw the winger post an assist on his full debut for the club in a 2-0 win over QPR.

Kent supplied the first goal of the game on the stroke of half-time to put the 10-man Robins on route to victory by delivering a good corner which was headed home.

The assist capped off a positive overall first start for Kent, who was a threat all game, and it followed on from an eye-catching cameo in the 3-2 League Cup semi-final loss to Man City in midweek.

Kent played a key role in the goal that made it 2-2 on the night, delivering a fine cross to the back-post which picked out Bobby Reid, who nodded across goal for Aden Flint to level.

The two key contributions and lively displays made for an excellent week for Kent, and he will hope the performances provide the springboard for more regular starts.

 

Not all went according to plan for one young Red…

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 19, 2017: Liverpool's Matthew Virtue celebrates scoring the third goal during the Under-23 FA Premier League International Cup Group A match between Liverpool and PSV Eindhoven at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virtue’s bright start to his first ever loan took a turn for the worse as the academy midfielder received the first red card of his professional career.

In the 90th minute of Notts County’s 2-1 loss to Crawley in midweek, Virtue was dismissed after a second booking for a cynical foul which prevented a counter-attack.

A forgettable night in Virtue’s youthful career had earlier come so close to being one to remember—as he almost scored his first professional goal, only to be denied by a goal-line clearance.

Ultimately it was a disappointing night for Virtue, though one which will provide a big learning curve for the 20-year-old, who missed Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Swansea due to suspension.

Now Virtue has served his ban he will hope boss Kevin Nolan gives him an immediate chance to redeem himself.

 

Five other Reds also enjoyed game time…

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 20, 2017: Liverpool's Marko Grujic during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was something of a baptism of fire for Marko Grujic on his home debut for Cardiff, as the Championship side hosted Man City in the FA Cup on Sunday.

But the Serbian dealt well with occasion and delivered a composed performance, despite the 2-0 loss, from his holding midfield role on what was just his second appearance for Neil Warnock’s side.

Grujic naturally struggled to influence proceedings as City predictably dominated for large parts, but he was combative and the biggest positive was that he got another full 90 minutes under his belt.

It was another positive week for Connor Randall at Hearts, with the 22-year-old in solid form as the SPL side continued their strong form.

Randall—now a fan and manager favourite at Tynecastle after his transformed performances—produced a faultless display in a 3-0 win at Hamilton, where Hearts kept an impressive eighth successive clean sheet.

Surprisingly, Randall dropped to the bench against Motherwell on Saturday and played only the closing stages of a 1-1 draw as that run of clean sheets came to an end.

Pedro Chirivella of Willem II during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Willem II Tilburg and ADO Den Haag at Koning Willem II stadium on September 09, 2017 in Tilburg, The Netherlands

Three European based Reds were in action including Pedro Chirivella, who continues to be mainstay of Willem II’s lineup.

The Spaniard wasn’t in his best form as his side lost 2-0 to AZ Alkmaar on Sunday, with his most noteworthy contribution being picking up a booking.

In Belgium, Taiwo Awoniyi‘s struggles in front of goal continued at Royal Excel Mouscron, with the Nigerian going goalless in another two games to make it just one strike in his last 16 outings.

Awoniyi was unable to find the net as he played all of a 3-0 loss to Kortrijk in midweek, and it was the same story on Friday night, though he was in better form as he led the line in a 2-0 win at Mechelen.

Allan Rodrigues‘ only action at Apollon Limassol came in a late run-out in a comfortable 4-0 win over APOEL in midweek, in which he entered with the game as good as won as his side saw out victory.

 

Keita Watch

Leipzig's Naby Deco Keita ahead of the Champions League soccer match between FC Porto and RB Leipzig in the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal, 01 November 2017. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

After serving a one-game ban, the soon-to-be-Red had to settle for a place on the bench and second-half appearance in RB Leipzig’s 1-1 draw against Hamburg.

Keita, on the bench due to suffering a virus, was introduced at 1-1 and with half-an-hour to play, and he was typically bright but couldn’t provide the moment of magic as the game ended all square.


Liverpool’s Loanees This Week

  • Origi – N/A due to illness
  • Grujic – Played 90 mins vs. Man City
  • Kent – Played 18 mins vs. Man City & 64 mins, posting assist, vs. QPR
  • Randall – Played 90 mins vs. Hamilton & 6 mins vs. Motherwell
  • Chirivella – Played 90 mins vs. AZ Alkmaar
  • Allan – Played 17 mins vs. Apoel
  • Awoniyi – Played 90 mins vs. Kortrijk & 89 mins vs. Mechelen
  • Virtue – Played 90 mins vs. Crawley & served one-match ban vs. Swansea
  • Whelan – Unused sub vs. Man United
  • Firth – Unused sub vs. Maidenhead
  • Ojo – N/A due to injury
  • Keita – Played 32 mins vs. Hamburg
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