TRANSFERS CANCELLED: ARE LIVERPOOL'S LOANED OUT PLAYERS THEIR FUTURE?
A club as big as Liverpool make use of loaning their fringe and young players out every year in an attempt to gain more experience and confidence playing in a first team set up. They might not take advantage of the loan system as much as Chelsea but this year they do have a fair few players out on loan trying to prove their worth to Jurgen Klopp.
Despite having billionaire owners Liverpool’s owners aren’t always willing to spend the biggest sums for players especially compared to their Premier League rivals. For example the additions of Minamino, Ben Davies, Ozan Kabak, and Shaqiri all arrived following rather small fees in relation to the level that they are competing at. Nevertheless this is a system Jurgen Klopp has thrived in the past with signings like Lewandowski arriving for just 4.5 million euros at Dortmund. If the pattern continues and FSG aren’t willing to spend big amounts Klopp may have to turn to his loaned out players to step up to the first team.
We’ve taken a look at a handful of loaned out players that could have a chance of breaking into the first team set up.
A phenomenal talent that first made his name at Fulham before signing for the reds at just 16. He made a handful of appearances last season in Liverpool’s title winning season especially in the cup competitions and his quality was clear. He was loaned out to Blackburn this season to play week in week out for a top club where Liverpool could keep close eyes on his progression.
Despite Liverpool’s horrid season Elliot’s development has been a silver lining for the fans who will be hoping to watch Elliot for years to come. At just 18 Ellliot has featured 41 times for Rovers this season and has contributed seven goals and eleven assists. He broke the record for most assists by a teenager in a Championship season and even got nominated for young player of the season. Even though he hasn’t featured for a side who are competing at the top end of the table he has still managed to have a very impressive season personally and will definitely pull on the red shirt again even if next season is too soon for him to have an important role in Klopp’s side.
A talented winger who already has Premier League title to his name, Elliot is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Awoniyi is a gifted 23 year old striker who, despite singing for Liverpool in 2015, is yet to make a competitive appearance for the reds. Finally after meeting the Bundesliga quota of matches to earn GBE work permit the Nigerian striker has earned a UK work permit and at least has a chance to fight his way into the squad. Awoniyi has had numerous loan spells across Europe since arriving from Imperial Soccer. He has featured for the likes of Frankfurt, Gent, Mainz, and this season Union Berlin alongside fellow Liverpool loanee Loris Karius. Awoniyi isn’t the most prolific but this season has definitely been his best yet since his early success winning the u17 World Cup in 2013. Awoniyi is yet to really prove himself and is definitely an outside choice going into next season.
Liverpool have set an eight million pound price tag on him but he will get the first half of pre season to try and show he has what it takes. He has played twenty games this season scoring on five occasions for an overachieving Union Berlin side.
Minamino made a shock loan move to Southampton in January after arriving just a year earlier. He struggled to settle in on Merseyside but did impress in patches and following his loan move to the Saints, Jurgen Klopp did announce Minamino was a long term project. This indicates that Minamino will probably have a role to play next season and at 26 years old he will be hoping to kick on next season after failing to deliver consistently for Liverpool. Minamino clearly has talent which Klopp noticed after his impressive 67 goals in 202 appearances for RB Salzburg.
His loan spell has been a bitter sweet one as he initially looked dangerous scoring goals against Chelsea and Newcastle but has since suffered injuries and has spent a fair chunk of games on the bench.
Minamino will need a good pre season to re-earn his place but the Japanese attacker is yet to make his mind up on wether to represent Japan at the Olympics which will no doubt have big ramifications on his future.
A man mountain of a midfielder, Grujic has recently made his Merseyside frustrations public after another loan spell away from the club. Grujic would’ve preferred a permanent deal away from the club rather than another loan spell as he hits the prime years of his career. Grujic also feels he hasn’t been given a fair chance to prove himself but this pre season he could be given a chance with Liverpool highly likely to lose Gini Wijinaldum. Grujic stands at 6ft3 and operates mainly as a defensive midfielder. He has enjoyed a few loan spells away from the club since arriving in 2016 at Cardiff, Hertha Berlin, and this season Porto. Following a successful two year loan spell at Hertha there were reports the German side wanted the Serbian on a permanent deal but nothing came of it.
He made 38 appearances for Porto this season as they narrowly missed out on the title but did enjoy an interesting Champions League run. He also made over 50 appearances fro Hertha over two seasons scoring nine times.
Grujic is a player who has had more first team exposure than others who have been loaned out. He managed 26 games during the 2016-17 campaign which could help him in terms of staying at the club next season. Unfortunately for Grujic he won’t be at the European Championships but it will give him more time to impress at Kirkby as he heads towards an uncertain future.
Undoubtedly a gifted attacker, Wilson is yet to break into the Liverpool team despite successful loan moves across the football league. Wilson has received plaudits for his dead ball technique and has scored an impressive amount of free kicks so far during his career. Valued at £14 million the 24 year old needs regular football but he isn’t likely to get that at Anfield. He could offer good cover next season but it seems he isn’t rated by Jurgen Klopp. However, if the Merseyside messiah isn’t given a large budget he might give the Welsh winger a final crack at the whip.
He has spent this season out on loan at Cardiff who have endured a rollercoaster of a season. He has featured on 37 occasions scoring a respectable seven goals and creating 11 goals for his teammates.
He has Premier League experience after a loan stint at Bournemouth where he netted seven times. He enjoyed the best spell of his career at Derby in 2018 where he played 49 games notching up 18 goals under Frank Lampard.
Unfortunately for Wilson he is fighting for a position ahead of Salah who is irreplaceable at the moment. Wilson is a different type of player to others who play on the wing for Liverpool as he doesn’t have blistering pace but does rely more on his eye for a pass and creative spark this is perhaps why Klopp doesn’t see his future at Liverpool. Either way I can see his future being decided this summer as another loan at 24 would seem useless with Wilson already having plenty of opportunities to impress on loan.
There are a handful of others who have been loaned out this season but these five I feel are closest to having a first team spot. Sepp Van Den Berg deserves an honourable mention as well as young goalkeeper Kamil Grabara who could take the number two spot with Adrian set to leave. Whoever stays and goes it’s a big summer for Liverpool as they attempt to bounce back from a disappointing season.