Just one week remains until the English Football League kicks off for another season, and Liverpool’s 2017-18 loan squad is beginning to take shape.
Just two season-long deals are so far confirmed, with one more summer loan well under way, but plenty more are expected to be sealed over the coming days and weeks.
For now, we will preview those that have been completed, and one that is heavily rumoured to go through, with the player already taken out of the Liverpool preseason preparations. Here is the 2017-18 Anfield HQ Loan Watch Preview.
Pedro Chirivella, Willem II
An impressive 17-game spell at the relegated Go Ahead Eagles last season earned Pedro Chirivella a second loan to the Eredivisie, this time a season-long move to Willem II. Sami Hyypia’s former side finished 13th in the Dutch top division last season, and boss Edwin van der Looi will be relishing the opportunity to work with the clever Spanish midfielder.
After his success at Go Ahead, Chirivella will come into the season high on confidence, and his cultured style should suit his new side. Expect Pedro to quickly establish himself in the heart of the Willem II midfield, where he will be critical to his team’s efforts to climb the table.
Chirivella made his friendly debut on Saturday, in a 5-2 defeat to Belgian side Club Brugge.
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Brooks Lennon, Real Salt Lake
American forward Brooks Lennon has continued his excellent season since the last installment of Loan Watch. Having now made 14 appearances, including 11 starts, Lennon has proven himself a critical member of the RSL squad, and has adapted quickly to the professional game.
His Liverpool future is unclear, but Lennon will likely continue to play an important role in his team’s success, until his loan spell expires and he returns to Liverpool in October.
This weekend, Lennon came on as a 68th minute sub during RSL’s 2-2 home draw with Columbus Crew.
Sheyi Ojo, Championship (Rumoured)
Though it is yet to be confirmed, Sheyi Ojo is heavily rumoured to be on the verge of a loan switch to the Championship, with Fulham, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, and Derby believed to be vying for his signature.
At 20, the young Englishman has reached an important juncture in his career, where he needs to start proving himself capable of a long-term career in the Premier League.
A player of Ojo’s talent and physical ability should dominate at the Championship level, but he has so far proved somewhat underwhelming in two loan spells in the English second division. Ojo needs to prove to Jürgen Klopp that he is ready to play a genuine role in his first-team; a number of goals and assists in the Championship this season would go a long way to proving his worth.
Connor Randall, Hearts
Scouser Connor Randall will spend the 2017-18 season with Heart of Midlothian of the Scottish Premiership, where the youngster will work under 31-year-old Ian Cathro.
The full-back, who made one cameo appearance during a brief spell at League Two Shrewsbury Town in January 2015, joins after making eight appearances for the Reds over the past two seasons.
— Heart of Midlothian (@JamTarts) July 28, 2017
With Randall sitting below the likes of Nathaniel Clyne, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and possibly Joe Gomez and Jon Flanagan in the Anfield right-back pecking order, this year will be critical to his career, as he looks to either prove to Jürgen Klopp he is worthy of his place at Liverpool, or earn a positive permanent move.
Randall’s versatility should serve him well at the Tynecastle Stadium, where he should challenge for a regular spot in the first XI.
The Hearts season is already underway, with the Edinburgh side having played four games in the Scottish Betfred League Cup. Randall was involved in the squad for Saturday’s 2-2 (pens) defeat to Dunfermline, but he spent the game on the bench.
Taiwo Awoniyi will spend the duration of the 2017-18 season on loan at Royal Excel Mouscron.
The striker, who signed for Liverpool in August 2015, joins up with the Belgian side following the beginning of their league campaign on Sunday.
Awoniyi spent last term with NEC Nijmegen, for whom he scored three goals, having previously embarked on a loan stay at FSV Frankfurt in Germany.
Good luck, Taiwo.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 31, 2017