Five of Liverpool‘s on-loan players were in action in midweek, ranging from the most minor domestic cups to the very top of European football.
While the Reds had a dead rubber game in Denmark to take care of, those young and not-so-young hopefuls (and not-so-hopefuls, in some cases perhaps) out on temporary deals had their own challenges ahead.
In England there was Championship action and EFL trophy games, while one player added more Champions League experience to their repertoire.
Not for the first time this season, the stand-out performer was Harvey Elliott; by all accounts he’s enjoying himself hugely at Blackburn Rovers this season and the prevailing opinion is that he’s simply too good for that level.
Game time and needing to earn the win every week, developing that mentality and learning how to deal with setbacks, however, is just as important as showing off technical ability – which makes it such a valuable spell for the wide forward this year.
This time out, despite Elliott shining with his own game, Rovers suffered a late 1-0 defeat at Bristol City, but back in the front three for the 90 minutes, Elliott was a non-stop source of chances.
Harvey Elliott created more chances against Bristol City than 9 Championship TEAMS managed in their midweek games.
— The Second Tier (@secondtierpod) December 10, 2020
He laid on no fewer than six key passes across the course of the game, with his link-up with Adam Armstrong again proving to be the best source of chances for Rovers – though the in-form striker failed to net any of his nine shots on the night.
The 17-year-old has created an average of 2.6 key passes per 90 minutes in the Championship this season – that’s easily the most of any player aged 20 or under and seventh overall regardless of age (among players with a minimum of five appearances).
Ojo played the full 90, but Wilson was subbed on the hour with a strange and unusual arm injury, according to his manager Neil Harris.
“It’s a really bizarre one,” the manager said.
“It’s an arm injury. The muscle in the arm, the bicep, not because he’s been in the gym doing loads of weights. He’s not built like that!
“We’ll just have to see.”
No timescale or further detail is being offered as to Wilson’s absence, but he’s likely to miss the weekend at the very least.
The other player in domestic action was defender Morgan Boyes, who returned to the Fleetwood Town line-up for the first time since early October.
He played the full 90 minutes as one of three centre-backs in a penalty shoot-out win over Blackpool in the EFL Trophy, helping to keep a clean sheet during the match, which ended 0-0.
Ben Woodburn didn’t feature for Blackpool in the game, despite being an unused sub when the two teams met over the weekend in League One.
Finally, Marko Grujic continued to push his claims as the starting holding midfielder for FC Porto.
The Serbian powerhouse played the full 90 minutes at the heart of a 4-3-3 and saw his team win 2-0 away to Olympiacos.
Porto were already guaranteed a spot in the last 16 so there’s a chance Grujic could actually end up facing his parent side, with Liverpool group winners and Porto finishing second behind Man City in their own group.
Loan Watch Round-up
- Harvey Elliott – Blackburn– 90 mins vs Bristol City
- Harry Wilson – Cardiff – 60 mins vs Stoke
- Sheyi Ojo – Cardiff – 90 mins vs Stoke
- Marko Grujic – Porto – 90 mins vs Olympiacos
- Morgan Boyes – Fleetwood Town – 90 mins vs Blackpool
Did not feature: Ben Woodburn – Blackpool