Loan Lads Mid Season Grades by Paul Bickler

Alright, people. It’s that time. Time for a mid-season review on the lads abroad. I’ll be passing out letter grades based on the success of the loan based on performance, game time and projected growth. All ratings taken from Fotmob.

Before we get started we do have recent confirmation that 21-year-old central midfielder, Herbie Kane will be loaned out to Hull City for the remainder of the season. His move reunites him with McCann who managed Doncaster during his excellent loan spell last year. Kane is out of contract in 5 months and the club has been willing to listen to offers.

Ovie Ejaria  (A)

CM (22 yrs)

England 2. Championship – Reading 

Games: 23 starts

Goals: 3 

Assist: 1

Avg Rating: 7.14

Having already secured a summer move Ejaria has essentially played out of his boots. Everything is running through him at the moment and Reading will have felt it’s money well spent, while Liverpool has him off the books.


Marko Grujic  (A-)

CM (23 yrs)

Germany 1. Bundesliga – Hertha Berlin 

Games: 15 starts

Goals: 3 

Assist: 1

Avg Rating: 6.88

Marko has had nothing short of an excellent loan spell across multiple managers this season. He had every reason not to. Interclub turmoil, a difficult, physical league and yet he’s absolutely bossed it with two recent MOTM performances. An absolute stalwart at the base of the Hertha midfield, he is certainly giving Klopp a lot to think about as Lallana is set to depart. He has the best shot of any of the current loanees in not only returning to the squad but getting some first XI minutes. 

Allan Rodrigues de Souza  (B+)

CM/CAM (22 yrs) 

Brazil 1. Serie A.  – Fluminense

Games: 28 starts

Goals: 0 

Assist: 1

Avg Rating: 6.85

It’s always been about work visa issues with this guy. 6 loan spells in 5 countries and the club has yet to see the necessary progress and qualifications made to get the visa. The good news is that he’s played lights out back in the Brazilian top flight and Fluminense are keen to get a done deal this January that would see Liverpool pocket around 2.7M (over four times the initial 500k that brought him to the club). 

Harry Wilson  (B)

ST (22 yrs)

England 1. Premiership – Bournemouth 

Games: 14 starts

Goals: 6 

Assist: 0

Avg Rating: 6.68

There’s plenty of divided opinion on Harry Wilson with the pendulum swinging towards out after a run of poor performances for Bournemouth. The facts are is that he is the leading scorer and one of the few bright spots on a Bournemouth team ravaged with injuries to key players (C. Wilson, Ake, J.King, L. Kelly). That’s the good. The bad is he’s got a bit of a mystery injury. Specifically categorized as dead leg which continues to swell under activity. He’s recently been flown back to Liverpool to be analyzed and treated by the clubs own backroom staff. Deadly from set-pieces and spectacular from range, Wilson’s been one of the brightest talents coming from the clubs’ youth ranks but will likely be permanently moved in the summer for a handsome fee.


Lloris Karius  (B)

GK (26 yrs)

Turkey 1. Super Lig – Besiktas

Games: 16 starts

Goals conceded: 1.13 (per 90)

Clean sheets: 6

Avg rating: 6.56

Look, the purpose was to move on from this nightmare. Hence, the two-year loan with the option to buy (for 8M euro). The good news is that despite a less than stellar defense, Karius has Besiktas battling for a European spot and the club is interested in keeping him. The bad news is that it’s likely another loan if Liverpool is keen since they do not have the funds to complete a permanent deal.

Nathaniel Phillips  (B)

CB (22 yrs)

Germany 2. Bundesliga – VfB Stuttgart

Games: 7 starts

Goals: 0 

Assist: 1

Avg Rating: 7.14

Nat was in and out of the starting rotation but impressed when he did start with his distribution out of the back. Liverpool terminated the loan early and have recalled him back for additional depth. This may signal the club’s good faith in him or a lack of faith that Sepp van den Berg is ready should they need to call upon reinforcements with Lovren and Matip both sidelined.

Benjamin Woodburn  (C)

CAM (20 yrs)

England 3. League 1 – Oxford 

Games: 11 starts

Goals: 1

Assist: 5

Avg Rating: 6.49

A mainstay in Karl Robinson’s starting XI – Woodburn was flourishing as a free-roaming 10 before he was scythed down by an awful challenge. He’s been out nearing 12 weeks with a broken foot – recovering and training back in Melwood. He’s expected back son. Here’s too good health and a return to form.

Liam Millar  (C)

ST (20 yrs)

Scotland 1. Premiership – Kilmarnock 

Games: 11 starts

Goals: 1 

Assist: 0

Dropped after a bright start, Millar is back in the regular starting XI. He’s struggled at times but it is back consistently getting minutes. Having just turned 20, that’s exactly what Liverpool will have set out to accomplish with the loan. 

Kamil Grabara  (C-)

GK (20 yrs)

England 2. Championship – Huddersfield Town 

Games: 25 starts

Goals conceded: 1.65 (per 90)

Clean sheets: 4

Avg rating: 5.94

From zero to hero and somewhere in between. Two weeks removed from being panned for a costly error in a draw with Wigan, Grabara comes back and has the game of his life the following week to will them to 3 points. Such has been the loan spell of Grabara marred by a defense that’s not doing him any favor but also loads of inconsistency across the board. He is; however,  getting valuable game experience.

Sheyi Ojo  (D+)

RM/RW (22 yrs)

Scotland 1. Rangers 

Games: 13 starts

Goals: 3 

Assist: 1

Avg Rating: 6.44

What started brightly has faded quickly for Ojo. It appears that his loan spell is much more likely to end early like Ejaria’s than in a permanent transfer like Ryan Kent. He’s fallen out of favor starting sparingly. Liverpool will be disappointed that he didn’t show out for a permanent deal.

Taiwo Awoniyi  (F)

ST (22 yrs)

Germany 1. Bundesliga – Mainz 05 (16/18)

Games: 1 start

Goals: 0 

Assist: 0

Avg Rating: 5.58

Much like Allan, Awoniyi is another one we had high hopes for but just can’t get the visa straightened out. The club has been hoping to see him get more starts for the Nigerian national team and that a loan in a top 5 league would get him through; however he’s barely sniffed the pitch. At least on his last loan in Belgium he was getting minutes and scoring freely. A one-off start and 6 substitute appearances ain’t gonna cut it. He’s not working towards the visa requirements or raising his valuation through play. A total disappointment for both club and player who has publicly stated he is unsettled at Mainz.