Karius’ upturn & international break hangover strikes – Liverpool FC Loan Watch

Liverpool’s loanees suffered an international break hangover, with productivity limited despite all ten available Reds featuring.

While the borrowed Reds all enjoyed game time upon the domestic football restart, there was precious little output in terms of goals and assists.

Form and performance level among the loanees suffered, with regular star performers throughout the season so far all experiencing quiet returning displays.

Arguably the only man who didn’t endure a drop off was Loris Karius.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius of Besiktas during the Turkish Superlig Match between Bursaspor and Besiktas at Buyuksehir Belediye Stadium in Bursa , Turkey on September 02 , 2018 (Seskimphoto/Imago/PA Images)

The German has been in much-improved form recently at Besiktas, and he continued the upturn by keeping a second successive clean sheet in a 1-0 win against Konyaspor.

The shut-out was Karius’ fifth in six Super Lig games – a fine run which has been key to helping his side recover from a poor start to rise to fifth place with five wins from those six matches.

Unfortunately, that was about as good as it got, as the pause disrupted the rhythm of certain in-form loaned Reds.

Harry Wilson was one of those, unable to build on his goal-scoring display against Newcastle two weeks ago.

The Welshman endured a frustrating afternoon in Bournemouth’s 2-1 loss to Wolves, as he played only 45 minutes of the defeat.

Wilson’s side went down to 10 men in the first-half – Simon Francis seeing red – and that meant he was sacrificed in Eddie Howe’s half-time tactical reshuffle.

It ruined what should have been an interesting afternoon which originally saw Wilson deployed in a new role as a ‘double-10’ with Ryan Fraser in support of Callum Wilson.

Ovie Ejaria has been in top form for a consistent period at Reading, and like Wilson, registered on the scoresheet with a fine finish before the interruption.

Ovie Ejaria, Reading (Mike Egerton/PA Archive/PA Images)

But he too had a flat return to domestic action, unable to make his mark as the Royals went down 1-0 at Brentford.

Staying in the Championship, Kamil Grabara was unable to claim his fourth clean sheet of the season as Huddersfield were held to a 1-1 draw against Birmingham.

The winless form extended into non-league, where Rhys Williams had a tough afternoon as Kidderminster bowed out of the FA Trophy with a 3-0 loss to Curzon Ashton.

Meanwhile, both Reds in Scotland had to settle for substitute appearances.

Sheyi Ojo featured for the final 20 minutes of Rangers’ 3-1 win at Hamilton, in which former Reds youngster Ryan Kent scored a match-winning brace for Steven Gerrard’s side.

Liam Millar wasn’t quite so lucky, with the Canadian striker playing only the last five minutes of Kilmarnock’s 3-0 victory against Hearts.

The theme of late sub outings also spread abroad and specifically to Germany, where Nat Phillips played only the final moments of Stuttgart’s 3-0 win against Karlsruher in 2.Bundesliga.

Nathaniel Phillips (VFB Stuttgart), (Image: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/DPA/PA Images)

However, after surprisingly dropping to the bench last time out, Marko Grujic was recalled to Hertha Berlin’s starting XI to face Augsburg.

It was a miserable comeback for the Serbian though, with Hertha soundly beaten 4-0 while having to play for over an hour with 10 men after goalkeeper Rune Jarstein was sent off.

One final positive came with fellow Bundesliga loanee, Taiwo Awoniyi, who enjoyed his first minutes since mid-October at Mainz 05.

Only 15 of them, as his side attempted to see out a 3-1 lead over Hoffenheim, but the Nigerian used them to make a positive impact as his side added two late goals for a stunning 5-1 rout.

Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend


Injured: Ben Woodburn
Not in action: Anderson Arroyo