The official kick-off of domestic football saw six of Liverpool’s loanees back in competitive action, including debuts for Ben Woodburn and Harry Wilson.
What promises to be another season of highs and lows for the borrowed Reds got underway as the Football League and Scottish Premier League kicked-off over the weekend.
Six of the current nine loanees featured, with only Allan Rodrigues—whose season has not yet started—Herbie Kane and Shamal George going without game-time.
That the latter duo didn’t play is understandable given their recent moves and thus limited time to settle in at Doncaster and Tranmere respectively.
Here’s the lowdown on those who did play across the opening weekend.
Two Reds debuted in the Championship…
Big things are expected of Harry Wilson this season at Frank Lampard’s Derby and the Wales international featured as the Rams started with a 2-1 win at Reading.
Wilson was straight in the starting XI in Lampard’s 4-3-3 set-up, operating on the right of the front three from where he played the full game on his first start.
Wilson was quiet on debut, understandable as he adapts to his new team, and he missed a great chance to open his account, firing at the ‘keeper from close-range when he should have scored.
Expectations are also high for Ben Woodburn at Sheffield United, but the versatile youngster didn’t manage to get off to a winning start with the Blades.
Woodburn was a second-half sub, a logical role given he signed on Wednesday, in a 2-1 loss to Swansea, who earned victory through a late, first-touch winner from ex-Reds academy prospect Yan Dhanda.
Time was against Woodburn to make a real impression as he entered with 20 minutes left, but he showed some bright moments and signs of the creativity he will add to Chris Wilder’s team.
Four more Reds were in action at home and abroad…
The majority of the remaining action came in Scotland where three loanees made SPL debuts.
Two of those came for Steven Gerrard’s Rangers, with both Ryan Kent and Ovie Ejaria featuring as the Gers battled to a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen despite having 10 men for 80 minutes.
The talented pair both entered as second-half subs, having dropped to the bench as Gerrard rotated his team after Europa League exploits on Thursday.
Kent was first to come on and he provided a hard-working outlet in attack as Rangers played on the break for the last 20 minutes, while Ejaria helped shore up the midfield in the closing stages.
Ejaria has already had four competitive outings in Europa League qualifying, while Kent has played twice, and the youngsters undoubtedly have an ideal platform to develop this season.
It was fellow SPL debutant Adam Bogdan who had the most successful weekend though, with the Hungarian helping Hibernian make a perfect start with a 3-0 win over Motherwell.
Bogdan was in good form and the clean sheet was his first for Hibs, coming at the fifth attempt, having also played four Europa League qualifiers for Neil Lennon’s men.
It’s been a typically mixed start for Bogdan at Easter Road, but another solid showing in the victory will hopefully inspire a consistent spell.
One Red was in action in Europe: Taiwo Awoniyi, who will be hoping for another goal-laden season in Belgium under the added pressure of doing so at one of the country’s biggest clubs, KAA Gent.
After making his bow and a positive impression from the bench in an opening day 3-2 loss to Standard Liege last week, the Nigerian made his first start on Saturday.
Awoniyi led the line as a lone striker against Zulte-Waregem, but couldn’t find the net in his second outing which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Despite not managing to open his account, Awoniyi was influential throughout and won his side a second-half penalty which was missed by teammate Yuya Kubo.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Week
- Ben Woodburn – Played 20 mins vs. Swansea
- Harry Wilson – Played 90 mins vs. Reading
- Ryan Kent – Played 20 mins vs. Aberdeen
- Ovie Ejaria – Played 12 mins vs. Aberdeen
- Adam Bogdan – Played 90 mins vs. Motherwell
- Taiwo Awoniyi – Played 90 mins vs. Zulte-Waregem
- Herbie Kane – Unused sub vs. Southend
- Shamal George – Unused sub vs. Stevenage
- bAllan Rodrigues – N/A, season not yet started