It was a great week for Liverpool’s loanees, with Reds scoring and setting up goals while also producing some top-drawer performances.
For the third week running only half of the borrowed Reds featured, but thankfully those who did played well and truly made up for the lack of action.
Eight loanees didn’t play, with Danny Ings, Sheyi Ojo and Connor Randall all side-lined through injury, along with long-term absentee Allan Rodrigues.
Ben Woodburn, Adam Bogdan and Shamal George were all unused, while Anderson Arroyo remains stationed with KAA Gent’s U21 side.
The remaining Reds who did enjoy match action were in outstanding form – providing goals, assists, clean sheets and some brilliant individual performances.
Here’s the full lowdown on the action, starting with a match-winning hero…
Marko Grujic was the match-winner for Hertha Berlin…
? Our match-winner ?#hahohe #BSCSGE pic.twitter.com/tWDSrZcC5k
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) December 8, 2018
It’s taken the Serbian no time to get back up and running after injury, producing impressive displays immediately upon returning to the fold.
And Grujic was at it again on his third successive start, but this was the best yet as he delivered a match-winning display to give his side a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Grujic opened the scoring and his account for the season five minutes before half-time, sending a bullet header into the net from a corner—which you can watch here.
The goal was Grujic’s first since March for Cardiff in the Championship and capped off a spectacular showing which prompted manager Pal Dardai to label the Serbian as Hertha’s “best midfielder in 20 years.”
Indeed, Grujic shone with a perfect box-to-box diplay as he carried the fight with the most shots on target in the game (three), while also playing a key defensive role with more tackles than any Hertha player (four).
It’s brilliant to see Grujic back in top form and he deserves immense credit for finding such a level so quickly.
Herbie Kane posted a great assist…
Kane has shone recently for scoring goals, but it was his work in setting one up in Doncaster’s 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers on Saturday that caught the eye this week.
The academy midfielder provided the ground work for his side’s third of the afternoon with a brilliant piece of wing-play.
One-against-one on the left flank, Kane twisted his marker inside-out and delivered a pin-point, in-swinging cross straight to teammate Tom Anderson who nodded home.
It was Kane’s sixth assist of the season in all competitions, and with five goals also to his name, it’s fair to say the youngster is flourishing exactly as hoped with the League One side.
Loris Karius was in top form at Besiktas…
Karius followed a strong bounce-back display with an even better showing on Friday night, as he kept a second successive clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Alanyaspor.
It was thanks to the German’s shot-stopping heroics that Besiktas earned a point, with Karius making a number of fine saves including two incredible match-saving stops—which you can see here.
The first, which came in the opening 45, was the pick of the bunch with Karius somehow rising up off the turf after being wrong-footed to fly across goal and deny former Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse a certain goal.
And the second came in stoppage time to ensure his side escaped with a point, with Karius saving superbly with his legs from point blank range.
It was a great performance and, pleasingly, Karius looks to be returning to the top form displayed at the start of his loan spell.
Five more Reds enjoyed game-time…
Four of those were in action on home soil.
Ryan Kent made a welcome return for Steven Gerrard’s Rangers against Dundee on Sunday, after missing six games with a hamstring injury.
Kent, slightly surprisingly, was put straight into the starting XI as a No.10, but he only played the first-half of a 1-1 draw and was understandably rusty on his comeback.
Pleasingly, both Ibrox-based loanees enjoyed game-time as Ovie Ejaria also played a part in the stalemate.
The midfielder entered for the final 20 minutes as Rangers pushed for a winner against the 10-man hosts, but Ejaria couldn’t find the moment of inspiration as he struggled to get in the game.
In the Football League, Harry Wilson is so often the star performer but had a quieter afternoon in Derby’s 1-0 win at Wigan on Saturday.
The Welshman started as usual on the right of a three man attack, but was subbed in the second half after a subdued outing and for walking a tightrope while on a yellow card.
In League Two, Corey Whelan made his 15th start of the season for Crewe, but it ended in a 2-0 loss to Oldham on Saturday with the defender completing the 90 minutes at right-back.
Finally, just one more loanee was in action in Europe.
It was Taiwo Awoniyi, who continues to be frustrated by a lack of meaningful game-time at KAA Gent and this is one loan spell that certainly isn’t playing out as hoped.
The Nigerian was disappointingly unused in midweek in the Belgian Cup and played just the closing moments of a 2-0 win over Eupen on Sunday as his side ran the clock down to see out the win.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend
- Loris Karius (Besiktas) – 90 mins vs. Alanyaspor, clean sheet
- Harry Wilson (Derby) – 72 mins vs. Wigan
- Herbie Kane (Doncaster) – 90 mins vs. Bristol Rovers, assist
- Corey Whelan (Crewe) – 90 mins vs. Oldham
- Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – 90 mins vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, goal
- Ryan Kent (Rangers) – 45 mins vs. Dundee
- Ovie Ejaria (Rangers) – 20 mins vs. Dundee
- Taiwo Awoniyi (KAA Gent) – 3 mins + stoppage time vs. Eupen
Injured: Danny Ings, Sheyi Ojo, Allan Rodrigues, Connor Randall
Not in action: Ben Woodburn, Adam Bogdan, Shamal George, Anderson Arroyo