There are a number of notable players currently enjoying spells away from Anfield, but with only three months left of the season, will they be welcomed back into the squad come the summer or will they be shipped out again, temporarily or permanently?
There are currently 13 senior players out on loan; ranging from former PSG captain Mamadou Sakho at Crystal Palace to 22-year-old striker Jack Dunn at Tranmere Rovers. Some of them are quality players who just needed game time that they weren’t going to get in Jurgen Klopp’s First Team, others simply aren’t good enough to be Liverpool players.
The Frenchman and Klopp had a very public falling out in the pre-season tour of the States, leading to his exile to the U23 squad, meaning he has failed to make a First Team appearance this season. It looked throughout the January window that Liverpool would only let the centre-back go if it was on a permanent deal, but nobody would meet the £20million valuation, and so on Deadline Day, Sakho joined Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace. Sakho will try regain his match fitness and break into the Palace side in the remainder of the season, but I very much doubt that whatever he does over the next few months will affect what happens in the future. It would appear fairly certain that Sakho will leave the club on a permanent basis come the summer window.
At the beginning of the season, Markovic was sent back to Portugal to Sporting Lisbon, but made little impact in his five months there; making only six appearances, scoring one goal. In the January window, the Serb winger came back to the Premier League and joined relegation-threatened Hull City until the end of the season. Markovic made a strong start to life at the KCOM, making his debut in the EFL Cup Semi-Final second leg win over Manchester United and going on to make three more appearances, putting in good performances in the meantime. Markovic will return to Anfield in the summer, still only 23 years of age, as such I think he will be given next season to prove that he is worth the money we spent on him in the summer of 2014.
Two years ago, the young Scouser was seen as the next big thing for Liverpool, a proper right-back; however a couple of serious injuries have halted the Englishman’s progress over the last two years, he made no appearances in 14/15 and only eight in all competitions last season, so ‘Flanno’ was sent to Turf Moor for a season-long loan at Sean Dyche’s Burnley. The right-back hasn’t played as much football this season as he, or Klopp, would have wanted – only five in the league, and eight in all competitions, but he undoubtedly is a talented footballer with a big career in front of him. He will return to Liverpool in the summer, with a season relatively injury-free under his belt, and ready to try and force his way back into the First Team next season.
Looking at some of the other Liverpool players on loan; Danny Ward is having a fantastic season at the over-achieving Huddersfield Town under Klopp’s old friend David Wagner, making thirty appearances at the John Smiths’ Stadium, and in the meantime establishing himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Championship. Elsewhere in the second tier, Ryan Kent is doing well at Barnsley, with the young Englishman establishing himself in the Tykes’ starting eleven. Both players will return to Liverpool in the summer, and will probably go on the LFC Tour next pre-season with the hope of improving their chances of playing for Klopp in the First Team. Out of the two, Kent is the most likely to be sent back out on loan as he has just turned twenty.
Youngsters like Allan (Hertha BSC), Taiwo Awoniyi (NEC), Pedro Chirivella (Go Ahead Eagles), Cameron Brannagan (Fleetwood Town) and Dunn (Tranmere) will all gain valuable playing experiences with their loan assignments for the remainder of the season; none of these four are likely to be able to force their way in to the First Team next season, but all have shown promise in the youth teams and as such will either be sent back out on loan to get more valuable First Team experience, or will remain at Kirby with the U23s so that Klopp and his staff can keep a watchful eye on them.
The future may not be so rosy for goalkeeping pair Ryan Fulton and Adam Bogdan and defender Andre Wisdom; Fulton has been on loan at Chesterfield this season while Bogdan got injured early in his spell at Wigan Athletic, both are way down the pecking order at Liverpool, and it is unlikely that either will have a future with the Reds. I would not be surprised to see both of them depart in the summer on permanent deals. Wisdom on the other hand has had loan spells at four different clubs over the last four seasons (Derby County, West Brom, Norwich City, Red Bull Salzburg) and has made increasingly fewer appearances during those spells; Wisdom is behind the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez, Alberto Moreno and Jon Flanagan in the full-back pecking order, and is unlikely to move up those ranks next season. Wisdom showed promise as a youngster in the youth teams, but has never quite been able to convert that into the senior level.