Liverpool Loans Paying Off

Clive Brunskill

As ever, Liverpool Football Club have a group of players who are gaining experience elsewhere. Many believe that group should be bigger, but for now let's focus on those who currently are away at other clubs learning their trade.

At any given time, the slate of players out on loan from a parent club the size of Liverpool, will vary in standing from the very brightest first team prospects, to those that the club hope will improve sufficiently to become adequate squad cover or saleable assets. The current cross-section plying there trade away from L4 are very representative of those categories.

Like many, I was very encouraged by the performances of Jack Robinson, under Kenny Dalglish at the tail-end of the 2010-2011 season. He looked brave, composed and comparatively mobile. With the arrival of Jose Enrique and the youngster's struggles with injury, he was restricted to just two senior appearances in the following season.

Robinson played two Europa League matches and featured in the domestic cups for the first team in the current campaign but was sent to Wolverhampton Wanderers in February for the remainder of the season. He's made four appearances for Wolves in The Championship and on Saturday helped them to a 2-1 win over Bristol City. The move can only be a positive thing, especially if he continues to feature heavily.

Hearts, of the Scottish Premier League, is the current home of Danny Wilson and Michael Ngoo. Wilson has had previous loan spells at both Blackpool and Bristol before joining his club mate on the journey north of the border. Of all the young defensive prospects in recent years, Wilson was initially the brightest, but he has resolutely failed to impress a succession of managers. The signs seem to be pointing to a permanent departure for the young Scot.

Ngoo, however, is a slightly different case. The young front man is a year younger than Wilson and highly rated by many at the club. His particular skillset may not fit the Rodgers mould, however, and there has been interest from Hearts and others in taking him permanently. Both men have featured regularly and, on Sunday, were unfortunate to lose the League Cup Final to St. Mirren.

Jay Spearing has played more than thirty games for Bolton Wanderers in The Championship and scored twice in the process. He's been the topic of some debate around these parts of late and I won't open that particular can of worms again except to say that he's a kid I've always admired and it's gratifying that he's done well away from Anfield. Most recently, he and his team mates suffered a one goal defeat at Ipswich and they now stand in eighth, five points off the play-offs.

The most controversial of all Liverpool's loans was that of Andy Carroll to West Ham. The 24 year old has now played only 16 games for the Londoners due to injury and, even more disappointingly, he's notched just three goals. With Rafael Benitez and Fernando Torres in town and Joe Cole alongside Carroll, the clash with Chelsea at the weekend had quite the Liverpool flavour to it. In any event, Carroll was on the losing side and Sam Allardyce was making some ambiguous comments about the striker's future.

I'm one of those that would have liked to see Carroll stay at the club, but with Brendan Rodgers apparently quite entrenched in his belief that he simply doesn't fit, I've joined the ranks of those resigned to getting as much as possible for his sale. With stats like the ones he's putting together for West Ham, Liverpool will be lucky to recoup a decent fraction of their initial outlay.

Last on our list, and in a category all of his own, is Dani Pacheco the 22 year old has been on the periphery of the first team squad at Liverpool since 2009, without ever convincing his managers that he should feature regularly. His current loan spell at SD Huesca in the second tier of Spanish football is surely is last loan before a permanent move away from Anfield.

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