A change in manager has handed Liverpool youngster Jake Cain a change in fortunes at his loan club, while Sepp van den Berg appears to be moving to his favoured position.
With James Rowberry now in charge at Newport County, Cain made his second consecutive start in League Two on Saturday – having only started one of a possible nine under previous manager Michael Flynn.
The 20-year-old’s first start of Rowberry’s tenure saw him assist in a 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers, and though he did not directly contribute in the 5-0 thrashing of Stevenage next time out, he was similarly influential.
Cain was deployed as a deep-lying midfielder, and produced an excellent first-time pass in the buildup to Newport’s fourth goal of the afternoon.
He was smart in his use of the ball throughout, and playing the full 90 minutes ended the game having created the second-most chances of any player, with three.
It promises to be a fruitful working relationship with Rowberry, who has emphasised the value of youthful energy in his midfield, with Cain joined by 21-year-olds Finn Azaz and Oliver Cooper.
Unfortunately, his close friend and long-term academy team-mate Leighton Clarkson is not enjoying the same kind of exposure at Blackburn.
Clarkson has only started one of the last eight Championship games for Rovers, and was an unused substitute for the fifth time in seven fixtures during Saturday’s 2-1 win at Derby.
Granted, the young playmaker is playing two levels above Cain in the second tier, but there will be concerns over his game time among coaches at Liverpool nonetheless.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Van den Berg followed up his centre-back outing against his parent club with another 90 minutes on the right of Preston’s three-man back line in a 2-0 win over Luton.
With Tom Barkhuizen taking his place at right wing-back, the Dutchman was able to fill his natural role, with LancsLive reporter George Hodgson commending him for a “solid showing” in which he “read the game well and never looked in trouble.”
With Pepijn Lijnders explaining that he and Klopp’s coaches “can’t wait to see him in pre-season next year,” this switch of position could aid Van den Berg’s hopes of settling back at Liverpool.
There were few other positives across the Reds’ 13 loanees over the weekend, however, with Sheyi Ojo substituted at half-time during Millwall’s 1-0 loss to Huddersfield.
Paul Glatzel was back in action as a half-time substitute for Tranmere, though, but minutes were limited for both Ben Woodburn and Luis Longstaff.
Ben Davies, Vitezslav Jaros, Jakub Ojrzynski and Anderson Arroyo all played 90 minutes for their clubs, but Rhys Williams spent another weekend unused at Swansea.
Liverpool Loan Watch Roundup
- Sepp van den Berg (Preston) – 90 mins vs. Luton
- Jake Cain (Newport County) – 90 mins vs. Stevenage
- Ben Davies (Sheffield United) – 90 mins vs. Blackpool
- Sheyi Ojo (Millwall) – 45 mins vs. Huddersfield
- Paul Glatzel (Tranmere) – 45 mins vs. Mansfield
- Ben Woodburn (Hearts) – 33 mins vs. Aberdeen
- Luis Longstaff (Queen’s Park) – 9 mins vs. Cove Rangers
- Vitezslav Jaros (St Pat’s) – 90 mins vs. Longford Town
- Jakub Ojrzynski (Caernarfon Town) – 90 mins vs. Barry
- Anderson Arroyo (Mirandes) – 90 mins vs. Real Zaragoza
Unused: Clarkson, Williams