Play-off preparations begin & Jarell Quansah plays last game for club

Play-off preparations were afoot as the EFL season drew to a close, and four Liverpool loanees were in action.

Injuries and rotation meant just four of Liverpool’s loanees got game time over the weekend.

The Reds now have two youngsters out on loan who have won awards at their club’s end-of-season ceremonies.

Leighton Clarkson picked up best young player at Aberdeen but couldn’t cap the week with a win, as his team lost 1-0 to Rangers.

Clarkson played almost the entire match before being brought off with two minutes left, as the Dons tried and failed to find an equaliser at Ibrox.

Despite the loss, Aberdeen still have a five-point advantage over Hearts, meaning Clarkson should finish the campaign having helped guide his loan club to third place and Europa League qualification.

2JPWBCA McDiarmid Park, Perth, UK. 20th Aug, 2022. Scottish premier league football, St Johnstone versus Aberdeen: Leighton Clarkson of Aberdeen Credit: Action Plus Sports/Alamy Live News

The other award winner, Conor Bradley, has had an equally, if not more, impressive year.

The Bolton player of the season was rested for their final league match against Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers, as the Lancashire club prepare for their League One play-off semi-final, against Barnsley next weekend.

Bradley’s absence meant he missed the chance to face fellow Liverpool loanee, Jarell Quansah.

The centre-back played 81 minutes in his final outing for the Pirates, who were beaten 3-2 by a weakened Bolton side.

Since his January move to Bristol Rovers, Quansah has started 15 of the 16 League One matches that he has been available for, in his first spell away from Liverpool.

With Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk getting on, and Joe Gomez seemingly out of favour, pre-season would be a good chance for Quansah to make his mark in the first-team squad.

CARDIFF, WALES - Monday, March 29, 2021: England's Jarell Quansah during an Under-18 international friendly match between Wales and England at Leckwith Stadium. England won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In Germany, Sepp van den Berg continued his return from injury, helping Schalke to a vital three points as they seek to remain in the Bundesliga.

The Liverpool loanee played 90 minutes as the famous German club beat Jurgen Klopp‘s old team, Mainz, to move two points clear of the relegation zone with just three matches remaining.

Speaking to the German paper, Westdeutsche Allgemeine, Van Den Berg revealed he is “definitely open to staying” at the club, if he is wanted by Schalke.

Luke Chambers, who has recently signed a new contract at Anfield, was the only other Liverpool loanee in action, playing 90 minutes as Kilmarnock lost 2-0 against Motherwell.

Basement dwellers Ross County, whom Kilmarnock play on the final day of the season, are now just one point behind Chambers’ side.

That final-day fixture could well be a good test for Chambers in terms of his ability to perform under pressure.

Liverpool Loan Watch Round-Up

2N8AX03 Dundee, UK. 11th Feb, 2023. 11th February 2023; Tannadice Park, Dundee, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, Dundee United versus Kilmarnock; Luke Chambers of Kilmarnock hits a pass as Liam Smith of Dundee United tries to close him down Credit: Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Live News

Not used: Conor Bradley, Anderson Arroyo, Vítezslav Jaros

Injured: Tyler Morton, Paul Glatzel