Nat Phillips registered the first assist of his career while the goalkeeping union continued their excellent form as Liverpool’s loanees impressed.
There was a slight reduction in game time across the weekend, but it was still very much a rewarding spell for Jurgen Klopp’s loaned men.
Eight of the 11 fit and game-ready Reds received the match action craved and opportunity to prove their worth.
Those fortunate to feature maintained the positive run of form, delivering decisive contributions at both ends of the pitch.
Here’s all the action from another productive period for the loanees.
An assist & clean sheet in Phillips’ perfect performance…
The centre-back produced a complete performance to inspire Stuttgart to a 3-0 win over Erzgebirge in 2. Bundesliga, excelling in his work at both ends of the pitch.
A flawless defensive display from Phillips helped ensure of a second clean sheet in three games since Stuttgart returned to domestic action after the winter break.
And the defender turned from goal stopper to goal provider in the comfortable victory, as he claimed the first assist of his senior career in the opening goal of the game.
From a deep corner delivered to the back post, Phillips nodded back across goal and into the danger area, where Daniel Divadi swept the ball home.
After a stop-start first half to the campaign, Phillips has really raised his game since the competitive restart.
The 21-year-old has started all three matches since Stuttgart recommenced, playing a key role in keeping two clean sheets while playing the full 90 in all.
He has shown a new level of performance and confidence – perhaps inspired from his excellent display in that FA Cup win against Everton during his winter break from the German schedule.
Now with a first assist under his belt too, Phillips looks primed to excel in the second half of the season as Stuttgart look for promotion back to the Bundesliga.
Keep it up, Nat!
More fine form from the goalkeepers…
Two Reds ‘keeper’s in action, two clean sheets kept as the transformation in fortunes continued.
After securing his first win of 2020 last weekend at Besiktas, Loris Karius followed that with his first clean sheet since the Turkish Super Lig resumed.
It arrived as Besiktas cruised past Gaziantep with a 3-0 victory on home soil, with Karius in solid form on a comfortable afternoon.
Meanwhile, academy shot-stopper Dan Atherton continued the positive start to his first spell at senior level with a clean sheet of his own.
The 20-year-old posted a second shut-out for Marine – his second in three outings for the Northern Premier League North West Division One club.
It came in one of the easiest outings Atherton will ever have in his career, as Marine demolished Droylsden 7-0 to cap off a fine week which also included a 5-2 thrashing of Widnes.
Decisive contributions made among the final five…
Injuries to Kamil Grabara and Herbie Kane meant only two of Liverpool’s Championship quartet made it onto the field of play.
Rhian Brewster was one of them but was unable to add to his two goals since joining Swansea, who went down 3-2 to Derby on Saturday.
Despite not registering on the scoresheet, the 19-year-old played the full game and still made a crucial contribution.
Brewster played a vital role in the Swans’ second goal by keeping the attack alive and prodding the ball into space, thus giving Kyle Naughton the chance to finish.
Kane’s absence meant we all missed out on an exciting battle of the loanees on Saturday, as Hull travelled to Ovie Ejaria’s Reading.
It would have been an intriguing midfield encounter between the two in-form Reds, but only Ejaria was involved and he played all 90 minutes as the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw.
A second potential head-to-head clash also fell by the wayside, this time in Germany, as Taiwo Awoniyi’s unexplained exile at Mainz 05 denied a battle against Marko Grujic.
After sitting out DFB Pokal action in midweek, Grujic was straight back in Hertha Berlin’s starting XI for the Bundesliga clash, taking up a role in his side’s three-man midfield.
It wasn’t a great return for the refreshed Serbian midfielder, who was subbed at half-time for a poor first-half performance.
Elsewhere, Harry Wilson played 72 minutes of Bournemouth’s 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United, and he had a hand in the opening goal as Callum Wilson profited from the Welshman’s blocked shot.
Finally, Rhys Williams made it two games unbeaten since returning from suspension at Kidderminster, following last week’s win at King’s Lynn with a solid 1-1 draw against Darlington.
Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend
- Loris Karius (Besiktas) – 90 mins vs. Gaziantep FK
- Rhian Brewster (Swansea) – 90 mins vs. Derby
- Ovie Ejaria (Reading) – 90 mins vs. Hull
- Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – 45 mins vs. Mainz 05
- Nat Phillips (Stuttgart) – 90 mins vs. Erzgebirge, assist
- Rhys Williams (Kidderminster) – 90 mins vs. King’s Lynn
- Dan Atherton (Marine) – 90 mins vs. Droylsden, clean sheet
- Harry Wilson (Bournemouth) – 72 mins vs. Sheffield United
Injured: Kamil Grabara, Ben Woodburn, Herbie Kane, Isaac Christie-Davis
Not in action: Sheyi Ojo, Taiwo Awoniyi, Anderson Arroyo