Loanees Report Card (Part 2): Wilson the star pupil, but Markovic faces detention

The Loan Report

Harry Wilson – Hull City

(Grade A+)

By far Liverpool’s best player out on loan at the moment, Harry Wilson has been in scintillating form throughout 2018. Wilson dislocated his shoulder in the FA Cup clash with Chelsea but was by far the most dangerous of the all the Hull players that evening and used his delightful footwork to win his side a penalty. Because of his short time out, Wilson has made six appearances in the league but has made an impact nonetheless, scoring three goals and contributing two assists. The Welshman has instantly become a hit with fans at the KCOM and always looks to make things happen whether he has the ball at his feet or not. You could be bold and use some of the best football tips and back Wilson to be the top scoring Welshman in the Premier League next season, such has been his progress.

Wilson managed to score his first senior goal during this break, when he netted the fourth during Wales’ 6-0 demolition of China. The youngster has spoken about how he feels that he is ready to make an impact at Anfield, and there won’t be too many who will argue with him. Everyone has been purring about the way he has played for Hull and he could well be a viable backup option for Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane next season.

Marko Grujic – Cardiff City

(Grade A-)

Marko Grujic has recently admitted that a World Cup dream was a contributing factor as to why he embarked on this loan spell with Cardiff. The decision appears to have been the correct one as Grujic made substitute appearances in both of Serbia’s friendly matches this past week, so a spot on the plane to Russia could very well be on the cards. However, the Serbian also stated that his long-term development was another reason as it is still believed that his long-term future is with Liverpool.

Grujic has gone from strength to strength in the Championship, making nine starts already during his short time in Wales. He has consistently put in high-quality performances and has been a rock in the centre of midfield and it’s reported that he has been getting tougher in every match for the Bluebirds. Grujic has made plenty of tackles and defensive stops, but also scored his first professional goal with a beautifully curled effort from long distance. His display so far this season is sure to keep him ahead of Pedro Chirivella in the pecking order at Liverpool.

Ovie Ejaria – Sunderland

(Grade B)

Ovie Ejaria is another Liverpool loanee who has endured an injury-disrupted spell at his new club. Ejaria has been limited to just six appearances but has impressed so far with Sunderland manager, Chris Coleman praising his brave style of play and the way he has stepped up from Under-23 to Championship football. Ejaria’s best performances have come in his last three matches and, although his side have lost to nil on all three occasions, he has been Sunderland’s best player by far. His calmness on the ball and ability and willingness to pick a pass has made him the main source of attacking intent for the team who staring down the barrel of back-to-back relegations.

Ejaria has shown real maturity during his brief time in the Championship and the youngster will be facing a lot of pressure over the next month as, unfortunately, Sunderland’s safety in the second, tier will be resting heavily on his young shoulders.

Anderson Arroyo – Real Mallorca B

(Grade B)

Anderson Arroyo has been loaned to Real Mallorca as the long road to a work permit has begun. While in Spain, Arroyo has been training with the first team but has been playing with the reserves. The Colombian has seen plenty of game time with the side that are dominating their league, winning the last seven matches and keeping a clean sheet in the last five.

Corey Whelan – Yeovil Town

(Grade B-)

Liverpool’s Under-23 captain, Corey Whelan has been enjoying a decent run of first team game time with Yeovil, something that he believes is vital to his career. The right-back helped his defence keep two clean sheets in the first two league matches he started and even picked up an unlikely goal in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. However, the Irishman has found himself, perhaps surprisingly, relegated to the bench in recent weeks and will be itching to get a chance to continue to prove himself in the final weeks of the season. Maybe a long-term career with Liverpool isn’t on the cards but a healthy tenure with a football league side is definitely possible for Whelan.

He has been keeping busy this international break, with two appearances for Ireland’s Under-21 side. First up was a 3-1 win over Iceland in a friendly, before a more important 1-0 win over Azerbaijan in a qualification match for the upcoming Euro U21 tournament. Ireland currently find themselves in second place of Group 5, but victories in both of their matches in hand would see them leapfrog Germany into top spot.

Andy Firth – Chester

(Grade C)

Andy Firth, the Academy goalkeeper has made his professional debut during his spell with non-league side, Chester FC. After keeping the bench warm in his first few matches he has since gone on to make four appearances in a row, conceding seven goals in the process. His stand out performance came against Aldershot when he made a number of quality saves to keep a clean sheet, and singlehandedly earn a point for his side. Firth was rewarded with man of the match and a spot in the Non-League Paper’s National League Team of the Day. Chester’s position near the bottom of the league proves that Firth will not be helped out too much by his defence, but he will be grateful for the first team action he is receiving, more than anything.

Jon Flanagan – Bolton Wanderers

(Grade D)

With Bolton opting to play with a back three for the majority of the season, Jon Flanagan’s move to the Macron Stadium seemed to be a curious one. Unsurprisingly, the full-back couldn’t break into the starting eleven straight away, but since they have moved to a back four system, Flanagan has seen more time on the pitch. He didn’t fit in immediately, putting in three mediocre performances, during which he could’ve been blamed for both of the goals Bolton scored in that time. His fourth and final match, however, proved to carry a lot more positives with a goalline clearance securing a clean sheet and all three points for his side against high-flyers, Aston Villa.

Phil Parkinson, the Bolton boss, has praised Flanagan, labelling him a class act and exactly the type of player they need if they are to fight off the threat of relegation. Despite this, Flanagan will need to show more quality on the pitch if his grade is to increase by the end of the season.

Matty Virtue – Notts County

(Grade D-)

Matty Virtue has struggled for game time in League 2 since he was sent off against Crawley Town at the end of January. The youngster began brightly for his new club, starting three league matches in succession, but since he was given his marching orders, he has played for just a total of 53 minutes. Notts County boss, Kevin Nolan, has cited a lack of confidence for his absence, and Virtue has even had to return to Liverpool’s Under-23 side to get some playing time. He scored in their 2-1 defeat to Porto B. Virtue will need a boost in confidence and a run of game time if his loan spell will be as beneficial to his development as Corey Whelan’s has been.

Lazar Markovic – Anderlecht

(Grade U)

The embarrassing saga of Lazar Markovic has continued this season, with a loan spell at Anderlecht which can only be considered as a massive waste of time. Markovic arrived in Belgium and was immediately put on an individual fitness regime as it was concluded that he was nowhere near match fit and wouldn’t be able to play for a good few weeks at least. The Serbian finally got his go in the 5-3 win over Royal Excel Mouscron and he played his first competitive match in 295 days. Sadly, it was just a 20-minute run out as a substitute and he looked massively off the pace. That was just over a month ago now and he hasn’t been anywhere near a matchday squad since. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the man who cost Liverpool £20million, but everyone involved with the club are just waiting for his contract to expire.

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