Ryan Kent scored a beauty while Liam Millar posted an assist and two Reds made winning injury comebacks on a positive weekend for Liverpool’s loanees.
The excitement of the loanees being back in action was dampened somewhat by a heavily depleted schedule as eight Reds didn’t feature.
Kamil Grabara (AGF Aarhus) and Anderson Arroyo (Gent U21s) both have games on Monday night, against Velje BK and KRC Genk respectively.
All the absences meant only eight Reds played, but those involved once again compensated for the lack of action with more excellent form.
Liverpool’s Scottish Premiership loanees led the way as Kent scored a brilliant goal and Millar claimed an assist, and there were also impressive performances elsewhere.
Kent scored and impressed in a heated Old Firm derby…
After going three games without a goal in the Scottish Premiership, Kent was back on the scoresheet for Rangers on Sunday.
It came in bittersweet circumstances, proving only to be a consolation as the Gers suffered a painful 2-1 loss at bitter rivals Celtic.
With 63 minutes on the clock, Kent dragged his side—who were down to 10 men from the 31st minute—level with a brilliant goal to finish a great move.
Having been fed the ball outside the box, Kent produced a great first touch before breezing past Dedryck Boyata and into the box where he beat Scott Bain with a clinical strike.
It was Kent’s sixth goal of the season and one that was fully deserved for a performance which stood him out as Rangers’ best player again.
However, the 22-year-old was fortunate that an afternoon in which he proved his readiness for the next level didn’t end in disgrace.
Indeed, Kent can count himself lucky to have escaped a certain red card for striking Celtic captain Scott Brown in the aftermath of the home side’s late winner.
That incident nor the loss should not take away from what was another impressive big-game display though, and Kent should take heart from his efforts despite the loss.
Millar continued his positive form with an assist…
It took the young striker a few games to find his feet at senior level, but he too is now flying in the Scottish top flight with Kilmarnock.
Two games after scoring his first professional goal, Millar delivered his first assist at the top level as Killie demolished Hamilton 5-0, making it two goal contributions in three outings.
On as a second-half sub, Millar supplied his side’s fourth goal of the rout with an excellent piece of play.
Picking up the ball on the left flank, Millar embarked on a jinking run beating two players as he cut inside, before sliding a good pass to Chris Burke who scored with the help of a deflection.
A goal and an assist in seven substitute appearances, averaging a direct contribution every 44.5 minutes, makes Millar’s recent impact even more impressive.
Two Reds enjoyed winning returns from injury…
Surprisingly, Ings was thrown straight into the starting XI for his first appearance since the beginning of February, as his side faced Brighton in a south-coast derby.
And Ings produced a positive comeback, helping the Saints claim a priceless 1-0 win with a hardworking, bright performance.
Ovie Ejaria was the other returning Red and he was also instantly restored to Reading’s starting lineup against Preston.
And Ejaria too enjoyed a positive, winning return, helping his side to a priceless three points in the fight for survival in the Championship with a 2-0 win.
The 21-year-old impressed with an excellent display to control the midfield battle, in which his composure on the ball and creative flair caught the eye.
Four more Reds featured across the weekend…
A nomination for the EFL Young Player of the Season award helped inspire an improvement in form for Harry Wilson.
The Wales international was one of the main architects behind a devastating attacking display from Frank Lampard’s Rams, which inspired a 6-1 demolition of Rotherham.
Wilson pulled the strings and was often at the heart of Derby’s slick moves, and though he extended his goalless run to a 12th game, it certainly wasn’t reflective of his display in the win.
It was Rodgers who enjoyed victory in the reunion, with Leicester running out 2-0 winners against the Cherries as Clyne played the full 90 minutes.
Marko Grujic had an afternoon to forget on Saturday as he endured his worst outing of the season for Hertha Berlin in a 5-0 thrashing by RB Leipzig.
The Serbian played all 90 minutes of the humbling defeat in his usual central midfield role on a day nothing went right for him or his team-mates.
The biggest surprise of the weekend was that in-form Taiwo Awoniyi dropped to the bench for Royal Excel Mouscron’s clash with Kortrijk.
It was a bold move from boss Bernd Storck in what was Mouscron’s first match of the playoff campaign to earn Europa League football for next season.
Sadly, it was one that predictably backfired as his side suffered a costly 3-1 defeat.
Awoniyi was introduced for the final half-hour with his side 2-0 down, and the Nigerian couldn’t produce the rescue act hoped for, which was always going to be a big ask.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend
- Harry Wilson (Derby) – 90 mins vs. Rotherham
- Ovie Ejaria (Reading) – 88 mins vs. Preston
- Nathaniel Clyne (Bournemouth) – 90 mins vs. Leicester
- Danny Ings (Southampton) – 67 mins vs. Brighton
- Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) – 13 mins vs. Hamilton, assist
- Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – 90 mins vs. RB Leipzig
- Taiwo Awoniyi (Mouscron) – 30 mins vs. Kortrijk
- Ryan Kent (Rangers) – 90 mins vs. Celtic, goal
- Kamil Grabara (AGF Arhuas) – To play Velje BK on Monday night
- Anderson Arroyo (Gent U21) – To play KRC Genk on Monday night