Taiwo Awoniyi was back among the goals and Naby Keita produced another assist on a largely frustrating Easter weekend for Liverpool’s loanees.
With the final international break of the season done and dusted it was back to club action for the loanees for the traditionally busy Easter weekend.
It proved a frustrating period as just 11 of 17 Reds played—with Daniel Sturridge, Sheyi Ojo, Connor Randall, Allan Rodrigues, Corey Whelan and Anderson Arroyo all out of action—and some limited to cameo roles.
Here’s how those who did play fared, starting with a familiar name on the scoresheet.
Awoniyi was back among the goals…
Liverpool’s standout loanee of the season was back from suspension as Royal Excel Mouscron kicked off the Belgian league play-offs and the fight for a Europa League spot.
And the Nigerian announced his return in stunning style, picking up from where he left off by sticking the ball in the net to help his side get off to the perfect start with a 3-0 win at Lierse.
Awoniyi put the icing on the cake of an impressive team display by scoring his ninth of the season and the third of the night.
As you can see here, the 20-year-old showed great composure and skill to create space in a congested area and produce a clinical finish.
It was fantastic to see Awoniyi straight back to doing what he does best on his comeback and it shows an impressive mentality to bounce back instantly from his recent red card disappointment.
The soon-to-be-Red once again demonstrated the talents he will bring to Anfield next season with another eye-catching and influential display in RB Leipzig’s 3-2 win at Hannover.
Keita claimed an assist for his side’s second goal of the game, as he clipped a delightful cross over to Willi Orban to power home a header and double the lead—which you can see here.
As always it wasn’t just Keita’s direct contribution that impressed, with the midfielder producing another strong display as he led by example from midfield—also completing four dribbles and three tackles.
The assist was Keita’s sixth of the season, and added to eight goals scored it’s easy to see why Reds fans are already counting down to his Anfield arrival.
10 more Reds were in action…
The bulk of the remaining action came in the Championship, with five Reds featuring for clubs fighting at both ends of the table.
Marko Grujic was the biggest plus, playing a key role in helping Cardiff make a solid start to their final push for automatic promotion to the Premier League by taking four points from six.
The Serbian was in impressive form in as the Bluebirds secured a convincing 3-1 win over Burton Albion on Good Friday, showing his class to dominate and control the midfield.
And Grujic brought that positive form into Monday’s tough trip to Sheffield United, where he helped grind out a valuable point and 1-1 draw with a battling if unspectacular showing at Brammall Lane.
Ryan Kent played in both of Bristol City’s Easter games but had a tough time as the Robins saw their play-off hopes take a hit with a winless weekend.
Kent first produced a quiet sub appearance in a 2-2 draw at Barnsley on Friday before turning in an uninspiring hour-long outing in his first start for seven games in a 1-0 loss to Brentford on Monday.
At the wrong end of the table, in-form Harry Wilson featured for Hull but couldn’t replicate his international form with Wales as his side earned a useful point in the fight for safety with a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa.
Jon Flanagan enjoyed a fourth straight start at relegation-battling Bolton, but the Trotters remain in the heat of the battle after going down 2-1 at Leeds on Good Friday.
It was a frustrating time for Ovie Ejaria who was restricted to one sub outing at Sunderland due to back and rib injuries, with the midfielder playing only the closing stages of a 3-1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday on Monday.
3 more points, one game less and one step closer ???? pic.twitter.com/tIPyT5WXSf
— Pedro Chirivella (@pedrochb97) April 1, 2018
Three more European Reds were in action including Pedro Chirivella, who enjoyed a fantastic Easter Saturday helping Willem II complete a sensational fight-back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Utrecht.
Lazar Markovic featured as a late sub as Anderlecht started their challenge for the Jupiler League title with a 2-0 defeat to Gent, with the Serbian entering for the final 10 minutes.
And it was the same story for Divock Origi who played only the final moments of Wolfsburg’s goalless draw with Hertha Berlin, as the Wolves begin the final push for Bundesliga safety.
Two of Liverpool’s three lower league men featured, with Andy Firth enjoying the best of the action as he made his fifth and sixth consecutive starts as he establishes himself as No. 1 at Chester.
But Firth’s wait for a first win goes on after back-to-back defeats to Torquay (2-0) and Macclesfield (1-0) which left his side 10 points from safety and almost certain for relegation from the National League.
Finally, Matty Virtue enjoyed a rare start at Notts County, who saw their hopes of automatic promotion from League Two dented with a 1-0 loss to league leaders Accrington Stanley on Monday.
Liverpool’s Loanees on Easter Weekend
- Lazar Markovic – Played 10 mins vs. Gent
- Divock Origi – Played 7 mins vs. Hertha Berlin
- Marko Grujic – Played 90 mins vs. Burton & 90 mins vs. Sheffield United
- Jon Flanagan – Played 90 mins vs. Leeds
- Ryan Kent – Played 25 mins vs. Barnsley & 57 mins vs. Brentford
- Harry Wilson – Played 77 mins vs. Aston Villa
- Ovie Ejaria – Injured vs. Derby & played 7 mins vs. Sheffield Wednesday
- Pedro Chirivella – Played 90 mins vs. Utrecht
- Taiwo Awoniyi – Played 90 mins & scored vs. Lierse
- Matty Virtue – Unused sub vs. Wycombe & played 90 mins vs. Accrington Stanley
- Andy Firth – Played 90 mins vs. Torquay & Macclesfield
- Connor Randall – Unused sub vs. Dundee
- Sheyi Ojo – Left out of matchday squad vs. Norwich
- Allan Rodrigues – Left out of matchday squad vs. AEK Larnaca
- Corey Whelan – Left out of matchday squad vs. Coventry
- Daniel Sturridge – Injured
- Anderson Arroyo – No fixture
- Naby Keita – Played 90 mins & assisted vs. Hannover