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2 to stay, 6 sold, 1 pre-season trial – Assessing every Liverpool loanee’s future at the club

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Liverpool currently have 16 players on loan for a variety of reasons, but which of those will return to the first team, and who faces a future away from Anfield?

The Reds saw a host of youngsters and fringe figures depart on a temporary basis in the summer, with further moves made in the January transfer window.

Motives for these deals were varied, with some gaining experience elsewhere, others putting themselves in the shop window and three seeking UK work permits.

For Loris Karius, Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan, loans are set to precede a permanent exit, with Karius expected to stay with Besiktas, a £20 million fee agreed with Southampton for Ings and Bogdan’s contract expiring in the summer.

But when it comes to the end of the season, what about the other 13?

Here, we assess which of Liverpool’s loanees have a future with the club, who requires another loan and who is likely to leave.


Harry Wilson (Derby)

Derby County's Harry Wilson celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game - Tim Goode/EMPICS Sport

It was something of a surprise that after a standout spell with Hull City and two goals in two pre-season games, averaging one every 45 minutes, Wilson wasn’t kept in the first-team squad this season.

Instead, another campaign away was deemed best for his development, and the Welshman has continued his stunning form at Derby, scoring 12 and assisting four in 29 games so far.

Klopp has been candid about giving Wilson an opportunity next term, and recalling him in January was even a contingency plan if any of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino picked up an injury, so he certainly has a big chance.

Verdict: Squad player

Nathaniel Clyne (Bournemouth)

Bournemouth's Nathaniel Clyne (Image: Mark Kerton/PA Wire. )

Klopp’s decision to allow Clyne to join Bournemouth on a half-season loan, with no obligation to buy, just four days into the winter window was widely criticised following a spate of injuries.

While the timing of the right-back’s move was questionable, it is clear that his desire for regular first-team football, and his manager’s compassion, fuelled the switch.

Clyne’s contract expires in 2020, and the hope will be he ensures a big price tag with his displays at Dean Court.

Verdict: Sold

Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin)

08 December 2018, Berlin: 08.12.2018, Berlin: Soccer, 1st Bundesliga, 14th matchday, Hertha BSC Berlin - SG Eintracht Frankfurt in the Olympic Stadium. After the end of the game Berlin's goal scorer Marko Grujic runs laughing towards the east bend. Photo: Annegret Hilse/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the requirements of the DFL Deutsche Fu?ball Liga or the DFB Deutscher Fu?ball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or have used photographs taken in the stadium and/or the match in the form of sequence images and/or video-like photo sequences.

Along with Wilson, Grujic is the marquee name among Liverpool’s young loanees this season, and has been in excellent form in Berlin.

Hertha manager Pal Dardai has been effusive in his praise of the Serbian, describing him as “the best midfielder we have had in the last 20 years,” though two ankle injuries have limited him to just 12 outings.

Liverpool are reportedly considering another loan, to a side in European competition, next season, but with question marks over the future of Adam Lallana, a proven talent like Grujic could be a readymade replacement.

Verdict: Squad player

Kamil Grabara (AGF Aarhus)

BURY, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 14, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Kamil Grabara during a preseason friendly match between Bury FC and Liverpool FC at Gigg Lane. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Grabara was initially slated to join Danish Superliga side AGF Aarhus in the summer, but injury to Simon Mignolet saw Klopp retain both him and Caoimhin Kelleher as initial backups to Alisson.

With Mignolet recovered and settled on the bench, Grabara has been given his first taste of regular senior football at Ceres Park, and though these are early days kept a clean sheet in his league debut against Esbjerg.

The Pole has huge potential, but with Alisson going nowhere and Kelleher arguably ahead of him in the pecking order, another loan in 2019/20 would be worthwhile—particularly if a Championship or League One club picks him up.

Verdict: Loan to an English club

Ovie Ejaria (Reading)

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 19, 2017: Liverpool's Oviemuno Ovie Ejaria 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)

It has been a strange season for Ejaria, who joined Steven Gerrard’s enterprising Rangers in June after signing a new contract with Liverpool, only to return in November and then move to Reading in the winter.

The midfielder showed glimpses of his talent in Glasgow, including the goal that booked their place in the Europa League proper, and he has continued to do so in the Championship, but a stop-start season hasn’t helped him.

Ejaria was a regular in the matchday squad in Klopp’s first full season on Merseyside, but with his progress stalling a permanent departure seems likely now.

Verdict: Sold

Herbie Kane (Doncaster Rovers)

Doncaster Rovers' Herbie Kane (Dave Howarth/PA Archive/PA Images)

Like Wilson and Grujic, Kane has been a roaring success this season and earned many admirers at his loan club, becoming key to Doncaster’s promotion push at just 20.

The all-action midfielder has proved his worth in numbers, scoring six and assisting nine in 36 games so far this season, and having extended his stay at the Keepmoat to the end of the campaign is set to remain in a prominent role.

This is an interesting one, as though Kane has trained under Klopp in the past he is yet to be given a taste of first-team action, even in pre-season—but after signing a new contract in December he should get his chance this summer.

Verdict: Pre-season chance

Sheyi Ojo (Stade de Reims)

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 10, 2018: Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo celebrates scoring the second goal during a preseason friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Ojo finds himself in a similar situation to Ejaria: once highly rated and hotly tipped, his future is now decidedly more uncertain.

The 21-year-old was impressive in bursts during Fulham’s promotion campaign last season, but another loan in England evaded him and he made the bold decision to move to Stade de Reims in Ligue 1.

There, he has been unable to hold down a regular role, partly due to injury, with only six of his 16 appearances so far coming as a starter, and averaging 44.4 minutes per game he is unlikely to be first-team material at Liverpool.

Verdict: Sold

Pedro Chirivella (Extremadura UD)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 17, 2018: Liverpool's Pedro Chirivella during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After turning down a £3.5 million move to Norwegian side Rosenborg BK in the summer, looking to stay in England or return to Spain, Chirivella became a mainstay of Liverpool’s U23s side in the first half of the season.

A switch to his homeland came in the final hours of the January window, but an error in his registration at second-tier outfit Extremadura could even see him forced to return to Merseyside before he makes an appearance.

Shambolic from his loan club, this will not do the 21-year-old, or the Reds, any favours when it comes to securing a permanent exit in the summer.

Verdict: Sold

Ryan Kent (Rangers)

CHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 7, 2018: Liverpool's Ryan Kent during a preseason friendly match between Chester FC and Liverpool FC at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Kent’s campaign last time out was, by all accounts, a frustrating one.

After pleading Klopp to allow him to join SC Freiburg, he then left the Bundesliga side in January and then joined Bristol City for the rest of the season, who subsequently paid a penalty for not playing the winger enough.

This time around, it is completely different: cherished by Gerrard, Kent has found his feet at Rangers, scoring five and assisting five in 28 games, and though he could be of use to Klopp, the player is eager to stay at Ibrox for the long term.

Verdict: Sold

Taiwo Awoniyi (Royal Excel Mouscron)

Mouscron's Taiwo Awoniyi celebrate after scoring during the Jupiler Pro League match between KAA Gent and Royal Excel Mouscron, in Gent, Friday 24 November 2017, on the day 16 of the Jupiler Pro League, the Belgian soccer championship season 2017-2018. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

Along with Ejaria and Ben Woodburn, Awoniyi was one of three players to have his initial loan deal terminated this season, but the Nigerian was handed a lifeline by former club Mouscron.

With three goals in four appearances, he has already equalled his tally from 22 games at KAA Gent, and it is pleasing to see Awoniyi settled at Stade Le Canonnier.

The goal remains to secure the striker a work permit, however slim his chances of making it at Liverpool seem, so there is no option but to loan him out to a higher-profile club next season.

Verdict: Loan to a Champions League or Europa League club

Liam Millar (Kilmarnock)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Friday, August 24, 2018: Liverpool's Liam Millar looks dejected as his goal is disallowed during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Millar turned down big offers from both England and abroad to sign a new deal with Liverpool and join Kilmarnock on loan, which is a promising move for player and club.

Working under ex-Reds coach Steve Clarke in Scotland, Millar could play a role in their challenge for the title, which would boost his confidence significantly.

His long-term aim is to vie for a place in the Reds’ senior squad, but it will likely require one or two more loans before he is in a position to do so.

Verdict: Loan to an English club

Allan Rodrigues (Fluminense)

Described by Klopp in 2016 as an “outstanding talent,” Allan still hasn’t been able to play for Liverpool three-and-a-half years on from his arrival.

Instead, he has taken in loan spells with SJK, Sint-Truiden, Hertha Berlin, Apollon Limassol and Eintracht Frankfurt, but is now leaving to latter to join Brazilian side Fluminense in his sixth temporary move.

There is very little chance this will help him qualify for a work permit, and it may be that the Reds now just cut their losses and sell.

Verdict: Sold

Anderson Arroyo (KAA Gent)

KAA Gent's new player Anderson Arroyo Cordoba pictured in action during a training session of Belgian soccer team KAA Gent, during the 2018-2019 Jupiler Pro League season, Friday 07 September 2018, in Gent. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

A real unknown quantity, 19-year-old Colombian full-back Arroyo joined Liverpool at the beginning of 2018, and was immediately loaned to RCD Mallorca, before leaving Spain for KAA Gent in the summer.

Like Awoniyi and Allan he is required to accrue experience in Europe before being considered for a work permit, and in Belgium he has played for Gent’s U21s side, with his powerful displays catching the eye.

In all likelihood, he won’t be permitted to turn out for the Reds’ academy ranks next season, and another year at Gent would be worthwhile.

Verdict: Another season at Gent

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