It was another valuable weekend for Liverpool’s loanees, with Takumi Minamino on the scoresheet once more in his third outing for Southampton.
Since making the move south, Minamino has played in each of the Saints’ three league games to date and has found a home on the left-wing or on the right side of midfield.
The 26-year-old had marked his debut with a goal at Newcastle and notched his second in fine fashion against Chelsea on Saturday to help steer Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side to a 1-1 draw.
The goal was one that shouted confidence, poise and a touch of cheekiness to open the scoring at St Mary’s.
After noticing the gaping hole between Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta, Minamino made his move to latch onto Nathan Redmond’s through ball before pulling out a dummy, wrong-footing Edouard Mendy and cooly finishing with the outside of his right boot.
Mason Mount would equalise from the spot to deny the Liverpool loanee the winner, but Hasenhuttl was impressed by what he saw from the forward – although there is still plenty to learn.
“With the ball he is fantastic. He has good movements, good finishing around the box,” Hasenhuttl said.
“He has good decisions. Against the ball, he still has to learn but the intent is there and he tries to do it.”
In the next division down, Harvey Elliott was back in Blackburn’s XI after two games starting from the bench where he took his place in midfield in a disappointing 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest.
The 17-year-old acted as Rovers’ brightest creative spark having created four chances in his full 90-minute display, including a lobbed pass which led to a penalty after the Forest keeper impeded Nyambe.
Adam Armstrong’s effort was saved, however, and Blackburn were left to face a fourth successive defeat thanks to a wicked deflected effort early in proceedings.
Fellow Championship promotion hopefuls in Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo had better fortunes with Cardiff against a Preston side who left Sepp van den Berg as an unused for the third game in a row.
The Bluebirds made it five consecutive wins with a 4-0 rout, where Ojo marked his return from injury with a late 30-minute cameo and Wilson collected his ninth assist of the season after sending Josh Murphy on his way after a bursting run on the right flank.
The clash, which moved Cardiff to within a point of the play-off places, proved an entertaining one with Preston having scuppered two chances from the penalty spot.
Elsewhere, Liam Millar made his 10th appearance for Charlton in a 1-1 draw against ex-Red Jordan Rossiter’s Fleetwood Town in League One, a division where Adam Lewis was a late substitute once more as Plymouth were held to a goalless draw at Rochdale.
And there were two clean sheets for Liverpool’s on-loan goalkeepers, with Kamil Grabara shutting out the opposition for the fifth time in succession and Loris Karius with his second.
The latter made only his third Bundesliga outing due to the absence of Andreas Luthe as Union Berlin notched a 1-0 win over Freiburg, with Karius noting he’s made life “difficult” for manager Urs Fischer when he chooses his next team.
Liverpool Loan Watch Roundup
- Takumi Minamino (Southampton) – 76 mins vs. Chelsea, goal
- Harvey Elliott (Blackburn) – 90 mins vs. Nottingham Forest
- Liam Millar (Charlton) – 90 mins vs. Fleetwood
- Adam Lewis (Plymouth) – 15 mins vs. Rochdale
- Harry Wilson (Cardiff) – 69 mins vs. Preston, assist
- Sheyi Ojo (Cardiff) – 30 mins vs. Preston
- Loris Karius (Union Berlin) – 90 mins vs. Freiburg, clean sheet
- Kamil Grabara (Aarhus) – 90 mins vs. Sonderjyske, clean sheet
- Anderson Arroyo (Salamanca) – 90 mins vs. Celta Vigo B
Not used: Sepp van den Berg
Injured: Taiwo Awoniyi
To play Monday night: Marko Grujic