Max Morland brings you Rousing the Kop’s loan watch with several Liverpool players in action across the UK and Europe.
Many fans have taken to social media of late to complain about Liverpool’s transfer dealings this month, and in particular, the lack of any new faces to boost their chances of a now improbable title challenge. In fact, both the fan’s frustrations and the Reds’ abysmal start to the new year have somewhat overshadowed the club’s other dealings in the transfer market this month. Several players have left Merseyside this month in search of regular game time and for the chance to prove their worth to the club in the coming years.
Amongst the players to have made loan moves this January is Lazar Markovic. The Serbian arrived at Anfield in 2014 with a big reputation, having helped Benfica to the league title the previous year, and was expected to maintain the sort of form that persuaded Liverpool to spend £20 million on him. However, in the three years since that move, he has failed to live up to the hype that he generated during his time in Portugal.
His spell with Sporting Lisbon was intended to last for the duration of this season, although the club cut the loan short after the winger failed to impress in a disappointing stint in Portugal.
Sporting’s loss, however, was Hull’s gain, as the Tigers capitalised on the chance to bring Markovic to the club until the end of the campaign. The 22-year-old made his debut as a second-half substitute in the League Cup semi-final last week, although Hull did exit the competition at the hands of Manchester United, in spite of a good performance.
Markovic started the FA Cup clash against Fulham on Sunday, but his full debut ended in disappointment, with Hull trashed 4-1 by the Championship side. Markovic was booked in stoppage time.
Elsewhere, Jon Flanagan was handed a rare start by Sean Dyche, as Burnley strolled through to round five of the FA Cup with a routine 2-0 win over Bristol City. Flanagan, who was deployed at left back for the game, enjoyed a very comfortable afternoon but was nevertheless solid when called upon.
The clean sheet should provide Flanagan with some much-needed match action and confidence, although, with the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold as reliable cover for Nathaniel Clyne, Flanagan’s future at Anfield looks hugely uncertain.
In the lower reaches of English football, Lloyd Jones played another 90 minutes for Swindon, but, in spite of a decent performance, was unable to prevent the Robins from a third defeat in four games. The 1-0 defeat to rivals Bristol Rovers saw Swindon, who were booed off the pitch at the final whistle, drop to 20th in the league, just one place, and two points off the relegation zone.
Ryan Fulton was given a rare break from match action this weekend, as his temporary club Chesterfield had already been eliminated from the FA Cup. The Spireites, however, sit three points from safety at the bottom of League One, and Fulton will need to be on top form for the remainder of the season if he is to avoid relegation.
Another Reds loanee not in action this weekend was Andre Wisdom. The 23-year-old is enjoying a season-long loan at Red Bull Salzburg, in the Austrian Bundesliga. Salzburg sit second on the table and will look to resume their title challenge when the winter break ends in early March.
Another player to leave Liverpool on loan this month is young midfielder Cameron Brannagan, who has joined League One high flyers Fleetwood. Jürgen Klopp clearly sees a bright future for the talented 20-year-old at Liverpool, illustrated by his rejection of a £1 million bid from Wigan earlier this month. Brannagan, who has featured on a number of occasions for the Reds, was left out of the matchday squad for Fleetwood’s draw with Southend on the weekend due to a lack of preparation time, although he will hope to play a major part in their push for promotion to the Championship.
In the Dutch Eredivisie, Pedro Chirivella played his second match for Go Ahead Eagles, who sit bottom of the league, but could not follow up his debut goal last weekend. In spite of a battling display as a holding midfielder, Chirivella was unable to architect any real chances for his side as they were defeated 1-0 by Utrecht. The Spaniard was substituted late on, as manager Hans de Konig looked to salvage a point by bringing on a striker.
Elsewhere in the Eredivisie, Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi made a late substitute appearance in NEC Nijmegen’s heavy 4-0 defeat to Feyenoord. Awoniyi was introduced to the action nine minutes from time but missed a good chance to pull a goal back for the away side when the score was at 2-0.
In the Championship, it was a good weekend for Barnsley, and in particular Liverpool loanee Ryan Kent. The winger followed up on last weekend’s goal with a classy assist against Yorkshire rivals Rotherham. The victory ensured Barnsley kept pace with Sheffield Wednesday in the play-off positions, although it wasn’t always plain sailing for the Tykes. It took until the 70th minute of the match for Adam Armstrong to notch the only goal of the match, which was skilfully set up by Kent. The Liverpool loanee cut in from the left and played a perfectly weighted pass into Armstrong, who finished from a tight angle.
Kent’s fellow Championship loanee Danny Ward watched from the bench as Huddersfield comfortably saw off Rochdale to progress to the last sixteen of the FA Cup. Ward, who has started almost every game for the Terriers this season, was rested for the tie, allowing for deputy goalkeeper Joel Coleman to get some game-time. Ward, however, will no doubt be back between the sticks for Huddersfield’s league match against Wolves on Tuesday.
Last, but by no means least, is Allan Rodrigues da Souza, who is on loan at Hertha Berlin for the duration of the campaign. The attacking midfielder played the full 90 minutes as Brazil u20s were narrowly defeated by Columbia U20s. In spite of the result, Brazil progressed to the final group stage of the Sudamerica Sub-20 tournament. He will return to Hertha Berlin after the conclusion of the tournament.