Productivity was in short supply for Liverpool’s loanees this weekend, but Loris Karius made a statement while a battle of the loanees played out.
This was a rare quiet weekend for the borrowed Reds after a strong period of consistently impressive form.
It wasn’t helped by seven loanees going without action, as injuries and no fixture for certain players made for a more depleted schedule than usual.
Ovie Ejaria missed out through injury, while Sheyi Ojo and Adam Bogdan were unused.
Danny Ings and Harry Wilson both had no game, while Pedro Chirivella remains ineligible to play.
Meanwhile, Anderson Arroyo could feature for Gent’s U21 side on Monday night.
Despite the lack of decisive contributions there was still some good form from those who did feature, most notably with Karius.
Karius bounced back with a clean sheet…
Karius was on the receiving end of some stinging criticism from Besiktas boss Senol Gunes last week, as the manager questioned the German’s “enthusiasm for the game” after some poor displays.
But Karius kept his place against Goztepe on Saturday, as Gunes pleasingly opted to show his faith in the under-fire ‘keeper.
Karius was handed a chance to begin turning around his below-par from and he took a positive step by keeping a clean sheet as side claimed a narrow 1-0 victory.
However, it wasn’t quite plain sailing for Karius as he had a nervy night, clearly feeling the pressure of a tricky situation in which he is also said to be in dispute with the club over unpaid wages.
Indeed, in the first half he was fortunate not to concede after a terrible mistake, with the offside flag thankfully coming to his rescue.
Karius rushed out from goal to clear but completely missed his kick, allowing Goztepe’s striker to simply run the ball in—only for the flag to go up.
Besiktas held on for the win and a clean sheet, and Karius made his thoughts known after the victory…
— Loris Karius (@LorisKarius) March 16, 2019
The spoils were shared in the battle of the loanees…
It came at Ibrox, where Ryan Kent faced off against Liam Millar as second-placed Rangers hosted fourth-placed Kilmarnock.
It was the standout fixture of the weekend in the Scottish Premiership but there would be no winner, with the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw in which both Reds featured.
Kent started for Steven Gerrard’s side and played the full game on the left wing, where he showed his usual creativity but also a frustrating lack of end product on the day.
A first professional goal in midweek—which was also the match-winner—still wasn’t enough to earn Millar his first start for Steve Clarke’s side.
The young striker again featured from the bench in the second half, entering for the final 20 minutes and providing a lively outlet for his side.
Millar almost had the chance to be the hero and snatch all three points in stoppage time, but he was cynically hacked down as he broke in on goal thus Killie had to settle for a point.
Six other Reds featured across the weekend…
So, Taiwo Awoniyi is human after all!
For the first time in six games, the Nigerian striker failed to register on the scoresheet for Royal Excel Mouscron, who recorded an impressive 2-1 win over Club Brugges.
Awoniyi recovered from an injury scare to play all of the victory and still put in a hardworking performance despite not hitting the net as his hot streak came to an end.
Marko Grujic proved his capabilities on the big stage again, standing out as one of Hertha Berlin’s best players despite suffering a last-gasp 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund.
The Serbian produced another good display as he drove his side forward, and he went close to scoring his fourth goal of the season in the second half but agonisingly saw his shot hit the post.
Allan Rodrigues‘ impressive full debut wasn’t enough to earn him another start for Fluminense, with the Brazilian dropping to the bench against Botafogo on Sunday.
The midfielder did at least enjoy another extended runout as a second-half sub though, playing the final 25 minutes of a 1-1 draw and producing a tidy cameo.
Kamil Grabara made his sixth competitive appearance for AGF Aarhus against Aab Aalborg on Sunday, but it wasn’t one to remember as he conceded three times in a 3-1 defeat.
Two Reds were in action in the English leagues.
Nathaniel Clyne was back in Bournemouth’s starting XI against Newcastle, and the full-back played all 90 minutes delivering another solid performance in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
After starting on the bench for just the second time this season in midweek, Herbie Kane was back in Doncaster’s starting XI for the South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley on Friday night.
The goalscoring midfielder, currently playing while nursing a groin injury, completed the full game but struggled to enjoy his usual influence in a typically scrappy derby-day battle.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend
- Herbie Kane (Doncaster) – 90 mins vs. Barnsley
- Nathaniel Clyne (Bournemouth) – 90 mins vs. Newcastle
- Ryan Kent (Rangers) – 90 mins vs. Kilmarnock
- Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) – 20 mins vs. Rangers
- Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – 90 mins vs. Borussia Dortmund
- Loris Karius (Besiktas) – 90 mins vs. Goztepe, clean sheet
- Kamil Grabara (AGF Aarhus) – 90 mins vs. Aab Aalborg
- Taiwo Awoniyi (Mouscon) – 90 mins vs. Club Brugge
- Allan Rodrigues (Fluminense) – 23 mins vs. Botafogo
- Anderson Arroyo (Gent U21) – To play Anderlecht U21 on Monday night
Injured: Ovie Ejaria
Ineligible: Pedro Chirivella
Not in action: Danny Ings, Harry Wilson, Sheyi Ojo, Adam Bogdan