With the international break wiping out any chance of action for players on loan from Liverpool, it was thought that now would be a good chance to catch up on their performances so far this season. There’s just over a month left in this current campaign so a full round-up and grade will be given when that date comes, but for now, have a read through the preliminary marks.
Pedro Chirivella – Willem II
Pedro Chirivella has made an impressive 27 appearances for Willem II in all competitions and it’s fair to say that his contributions have been widely underrated. The Spaniard has delivered just two assists in those matches, but his main impact on a match comes in other areas. He has reliably been the link between defence and attack for the Dutch side, breaking up the advances of the opposition before springing a counter of his own. His pass success rate of 81.7% is higher than any other player on his team and despite picking up a minor injury and a single match suspension, he has always fought his way back into the side which has made him one of the highest appearing Willem II players in the Eredivisie.
Chirivella will return to Liverpool in the summer undoubtedly as a better player than when he left and will be hoping that, if Emre Can does depart like is generally expected, he could force himself in as a rotation option for Liverpool’s midfield.
Taiwo Awoniyi – Royal Excel Mouscron
Taiwo Awoniyi signed for Liverpool in 2015 and has since been striving to get a work permit to allow him to play in England. Following two mainly unsuccessful spells in Germany and Holland, Awoniyi travelled to Belgium this year to link up with Royal Excel Mouscron. Here the striker has had the best season of his young career scoring a total of eight goals. While his form has been uneven, a couple of goal droughts in the middle of the season has set him back a little, his regular playing time has been vital for his development.
The long-term plan for Awoniyi is another loan spell next season, ideally with a club in the Europa League. It is envisioned that participation in a major European tournament would raise his profile to a point that getting a work permit would become easier and he’ll finally be allowed to join the first team squad in Liverpool.
Connor Randall – Hearts
Despite clearly being a natural right-back, Connor Randall has found himself playing all over the pitch during his time with Hearts. Mostly deployed as a wing-back and even as a central midfielder, Randall has struggled greatly when playing out of position. There was a lengthy period earlier in the season when he had a run of games at right-back and played very well, leading him to be favourite with both the manager and the fans.
Sadly, in recent weeks, a change in formation has led to Randall being played out of position once again and has seen his form dropped so much so that his game time has been sporadic in this time frame. Despite all this, Randall has admitted to enjoying his time in Scotland greatly and there has even been talk that he may be open to moving in the summer.
The Edinburgh Evening News reported earlier this month that the Englishman was grateful for getting more playing time than he ever did at Liverpool and was so impressed with the set up at Hearts that he would be willing to move on a permanent basis. However, his current wages are far out of Hearts’ price range, so Randall would need to take a serious pay cut to force a move to the north of the border.
Sheyi Ojo – Fulham
Sheyi Ojo joined Fulham at the start of the season hoping that a string of quality performances in the Championship could leave him knocking on the door of the Liverpool first team upon his return. However, he’s started just 17 of a possible 38 league games this season, picking up only four goals and two assists in the process. While he has looked dangerous in patches out on the left wing, mainly down to pace and skill, Ojo has suffered a couple of injury setbacks which, combined with spells of inconsistency, has led to him falling slightly out of favour at Craven Cottage.
In the past couple of weeks, he has expressed his desire to get more playing time during the dying embers of the season, but the league’s loan rules are against him. Fulham have six loan players on their books and are only allowed to name five in a matchday squad. Ojo is near the bottom of the pile when it comes to loan players at Fulham, so has been forced to sit out on a couple of occasions. Furthermore, the evolution of talented youngster, Ryan Sessegnon from a left-back to a dangerous winger has meant that Ojo services aren’t as in demand as they were in August 2017.
There is no doubt that Sheyi Ojo is a talented player with a bright future, but another temporary move away from Anfield may be required next season before he is to make an impact in the Premier League.
Allan Rodrigues – Apollon Limassol
Another player who joined in 2015 and without a permit, Allan Rodrigues had a positive spell with Hertha Berlin last season and there was talk of him returning there again for a sophomore spell. However, on deadline day of the summer window, it was surprisingly announced that he would be joining Apollon Limassol in the Cypriot First Division. Although a short spell in the Europa League group stages could aid his chances of getting a work permit, the rest of his season has been very quiet with uneven game time across the season.
It is speculated that Allan is highly rated in the eyes of Jurgen Klopp and there are plans for him the future, but it’s very unlikely that an inconsistent spell in a lower valued league will present the Brazilian with the right documents to break into the first team in 2018/19.
Divock Origi – Wolfsburg
Liverpool supporters were left confused when it was announced that Divock Origi would be joining Wolfsburg on loan, as many thought he was a much better back up than Dominic Solanke. However, Origi’s display in Germany may have changed their minds as the Belgian has struggled to just five goals in 27 appearances.
To be fair to him, Origi was played out of position at the start of his spell, but since the departure of Mario Gomez, he has been played in his natural position of a lone out-and-out striker. Origi has been isolated in most of the matches he has appeared in and has seen very little of the ball. Now his lack of goals could be put down to poor service but Origi has made minimal effort to make things happen for himself and as a result, Wolfsburg have been more effective without him on the pitch. His time in the Bundesliga was summed up a few weeks ago when he was substituted before half-time, despite showing no signs of an injury. This is regarded as one of the biggest insults in football.
To make matters worse, Origi has confessed that he has had no contact with Klopp or Liverpool during his loan spell and instead said that he is 100% focussed on Wolfsburg. This could be an indicator that he is no longer needed on Merseyside and his career for the Reds may be over.
Ryan Kent – SC Freiburg and Bristol City
Ryan Kent was one of Liverpool’s best loan players last season with an unbelievable spell with Barnsley, which resulted in him being named as the club’s young player of the year. At the start of this season, he eyed a brand-new challenge playing one of Europe’s top leagues, the Bundesliga. It’s safe to say that it was a disaster. Kent could not break into the SC Freiburg first team, making just five league appearances in total, with four of those coming from the bench.
In January, his contract was terminated, and he returned to England, looking for a club closer to home, and there were plenty of offers. He settled with Bristol City and made an immediate impact, with pace down the wings and he picked up two assists in his first four league matches. He was dangerous from corners as well, whipping in dangerous ball after dangerous ball, which have just been begging for final touches. However, he has since fallen out of favour and has made just two substitute appearances in Bristol’s last five matches.
Kent will need a burst in playing time if this grade is to sky-rocket before the end of the campaign, otherwise, he’ll look back on this as a wasted season.
Daniel Sturridge – West Bromwich Albion
Daniel Sturridge joined West Brom in January as a drop in action at Liverpool left his England career hanging in the balance. Sturridge hoped that a few goals with the Baggies at the end of the Premier League season would secure his spot on the plane to Russia this summer. However, after only three appearances, totalling to 78 minutes, Sturridge suffered a hamstring strain which has kept him sidelined since the second week of February.
There is some good news out of the Albion camp though, as it is reported that Sturridge is nearing full fitness and could even be included in the matchday squad for this weekend’s clash with Burnley. Sturridge will need a serious explosion of form at the end of the Premier League campaign if he is going to have any hope of playing England in the offseason.