Over the summer Liverpool sent twelve players out on loan, including one of football’s most controversial figures.
After a woeful spell at Anfield, the mercurial Mario Balotelli was shipped back to Italy for his umpteenth last chance. Unsurprisingly Milan fans let out a collective groan. Despite a solid scoring record for the club, his erratic performance levels and recent form do not suggest the kind of consistency Milan desperately need if they are to battle back to the pinnacle of European football.
An on-form Balotelli is an asset to many teams, as his spectacular free kick against Udinese showed. Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic said: “The real Balotelli has returned, and he can now handle the provocation.”
Whether the Italian’s enthusiasm continues is another matter, but a good season in Milan might mean the club is willing to get out the cheque book and free Liverpool of Balotelli forever.
There was a time when Liverpool’s Spanish contingent was the stuff of dreams, these days La Liga imports are at best a mixed bag. One such example is Luis Alberto, who came to Anfield in 2013 from Sevilla. Despite a promising stint at Barcelona B the youngster made little impact at Liverpool and was shipped out to Malaga, and more recently Deportivo.
Alberto seems to have found his place at A Coruña, scoring twice so far this season and putting in a series of impressive performances. A return to the Reds’ starting XI seems unlikely, but the club can expect a decent transfer fee at the end of the season.
Lazar Markovic joined Liverpool with high expectations following a very successful stint at Portuguese giants Benfica.
To the surprise of many the Serbian winger failed to settle at the club, and was handed a four match European for a regrettable incident involving Behrang Safari.
Being loaned out after just one season seemed unfair on the winger, who provided abundant goals and assists in Portugal. On track for a successful season in Turkey, the Serbian should return to Liverpool with renewed energy, and show the English game his true talents.
While it might seem like a long way off, Lazar’s ability to create and score combined with a low market value makes him a decent shout for next seasons fantasy teams.