A quiet weekend for the Reds, but Awoniyi sees a red of his own

The Loan Report

Several Liverpool players found themselves with nothing to do this weekend after heavy snow affected this weekend’s football all over the UK. As a result, Marko Grujic (Cardiff City), Harry Wilson (Hull City), Corey Whelan (Yeovil Town), Matty Virtue (Notts County) and Andy Firth (Chester) all had their matches postponed. Virtue did manage to get some football this week, however, as he returned to Liverpool to take part in an under-23s match and picked up a goal in the 2-1 loss to Porto B. Rules state that if a loanee doesn’t play at the weekend he can return to play for his parent club’s reserve side for a midweek fixture. It was a quiet week all round with only four loan players starting for their adoptive sides.

Ovie Ejaria – Sunderland

Returning after a brief injury, Ovie Ejaria played just his third match for Sunderland. The midfielder played the full 90 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Millwall and didn’t look entirely comfortable back in the side. His passing was fairly accurate, but he lost possession far more times than he won it back. Also, a central midfielder is expected to be the core of the team and be instrumental in the movement of the ball, but Ejaria was skipped out of most of the Sunderland moves. Instead, his teammates opted to play the ball through his midfield partner, Lee Cattermole a lot more often. After a promising first couple of games, this is expected to just be a temporary blip for Ejaria as he gets back to pace with first-team football.

Taiwo Awoniyi – Royal Excel Mouscron

Taiwo Awoniyi’s short run of form came to a devastating end at the weekend. The Nigerian striker had picked up three goals in as many matches before the home match with Lokeren when his afternoon ended early, following a straight red card. However, he can have little complaints as it appears thought the referee made the correct decision in awarding Awoniyi with a red card. With 75 minutes gone, Awoniyi was unceremoniously pulled back by his marker near the halfway line, an act that would have easily seen Mouscron granted a freekick. But Awoniyi appeared to frustrated with the blatant foul and lashed out, catching the player in the face with his elbow. He was given his marching orders and his side lost the match 2-1. Awoniyi was finding the best form of his loan spell and he’ll be desperate to carry on the positive run after he’s served his suspension.

Connor Randall – Hearts

After two matches on the bench for Hearts, Connor Randall was back in action in Scotland, playing twice during the week. On Tuesday, he played at right-back, his natural position, and performed very well to earn his side a 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock. His display meant that he was granted a start in the Scottish Cup tie with Motherwell at the weekend. However, the Englishman was moved to right wing back, a position that he has struggled with during his time with the Tynecastle side. He was evidently uncomfortable once again and couldn’t stop Hearts from falling to a 2-1 defeat, meaning they were knocked out of the cup at the quarter-final stage.

Divock Origi – Wolfsburg

Divock Origi’s loan spell in Germany can be considered as one of the busts of this season. The Belgian striker has netted just five times in his 25 appearances for Wolfsburg and has quite frankly looked lost in the green and white shirt. In was more of the same this weekend and Origi failed to make an impact during the 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. He could not manage a single shot on target during his 72 minutes on the pitch before he was substituted as Wolfsburg were desperate for some creativity up front. Origi will need a serious run of form into the end of the season if he is going to get any look-in at all at Anfield next season.

Pedro Chirivella – Willem II

Willem II were knocked out of the KNVB Cup during midweek at the semi-final stage, following a 3-0 defeat to Feyenoord. Pedro Chirivella played the full 90 minutes and had positive spurts, but the gulf in class between the two outfits was evident throughout. At the weekend, Chirivella was rested on the bench, clearly not dropped as he has become an integral part of the Willem II side, but did feature as a second-half substitute. When he entered the match his side were already 2-0 down Heerenveen and there was little the Spaniard could do to overturn the deficit. Willem II saw a lot of possession but could not turn their dominance on the ball into chances as the hosts set up fairly defensively. Chirivella can be proud of his efforts but will ultimately reflect on a very disappointing week.

Anderson Arroyo – RCD Mallorca ‘B’

Another two games for Anderson Arroyo this week and another two clean sheets to his name. The young defender has fitted in well with the Spanish ‘B’ side and often looks a cut above the opposition. The Colombian picked up a full 180 minutes of game time, something that is very important to his development and was rewarded with a 1-0 and a 4-0 victory.

Elsewhere game time was very scarce for our loan players as Sheyi Ojo (Fulham) and Allan Rodrigues (Apollon Limassol) were late substitutes for their sides and didn’t have enough time to make any lasting impact on the games. Ryan Kent (Bristol City) and Lazar Markovic (Anderlecht) were unused substitutes, whereas Jon Flanagan (Bolton Wanderers) wasn’t included in the matchday squad. Daniel Sturridge (West Brom) was also not in action due to his injury problems but is expected to make a return to full fitness sooner rather than later.