Liverpool had some pretty high profile players out on loan this season. I'm going to take a look at how these guys performed while out on loan, and speculate on what the future holds for them.
Pepe Reina - Napoli
Pepe had himself a pretty solid year at Napoli. He helped Rafa Benitez's side win the Copa Italia 3-1 over Fiorentina. More importantly, he helped Napoli finish 3rd in Serie A, meaning they'll be in the Champion's League next year. He also became the first keeper to save a Mario Balotelli penalty kick in a competitive match, so there's that.
Reina had a great season in Serie A, and reports say Napoli is attempting to keep Reina with a permanent move. Even if that falls through, he won't be back with Liverpool. He pretty much sealed his fate outside of Merseyside with this goodbye letter.
Jesús Joaquín Fernández Sáez de la Torre (aka Suso) - Almeria
For the first couple months of Suso's loan, it seemed like all we heard about was how great he was playing. The highlight compilations accompanying this praise were very impressive. It looked like Suso was well on his way to being the player we hoped he would be. Then, he just disappeared. I didn't hear anything at all about Suso after Christmas. He did score a beautiful free kick goal against Espanyol that was crucial to helping Almeria avoid relegation towards the end of the year, but then he got sent off with what some are calling a soft red against Real Betis the following week. Luckily for Suso, Almeria pulled out a comeback win despite playing with ten men. In the end, Almeria managed to avoid relegation, and Suso finished with 3 goals and 7 assists in 33 games.
It will be interesting to see what we do with Suso next year. I imagine he'll get every opportunity to play his way into the squad during the preseason, but I'm not sure he's ready. If Liverpool sign a midfielder or two during the summer, I think Suso might get another loan deal.
Fabio Borini - Sunderland
What a year for Borini. He started out slow with the Black Cats, but that can't really be blamed on him considering Sunderland was horrendous for most of the season. When Sunderland took their game to another level near the end, so did Fabio. He was crucial to their late season run to avoid relegation, scoring 4 goals in the final month, including the penalty kick that gave Sunderland a win over Chelsea. He was also a key component in their improbable run to the League Cup final. He scored on a PK against Manchester United in the first leg of their semi-final, and then scored the opening goal in Sunderland's 3-1 loss to Manchester City in the final. In total, he scored 10 goals and assisted 3 others in 42 appearances for Sunderland.
Fabio Borini will surely be back in Red next year. Suarez and Sturridge are fantastic strikers, but they need backup. Borini will provide much needed depth at the front, and at the very least will be counted on as a key player off the bench.
Jordan Ibe - Birmingham City
Ibe never really got a chance to make his mark on the team this year. His only Premier League appearance was as a late sub in the 5-1 win against Arsenal. In February, the club decided to loan him to Birmingham City for the remainder of the year. Ibe made 11 appearances for Birmingham, scoring one goal and playing a part in Paul Caddis' goal that saved the team from relegation to League One.
As for next year, Ibe probably has a good chance to get some playing time. This team is short on wingers, and Jordan is full of potential. Given the chance, he might be the next Raheem Sterling.
Other Notable Loanees:
Center back Tiago Ilori ended the season on loan at Granada CF in La Liga, making 9 appearances. This included a Man of the Match performance in Granada's 1-0 victory over FC Barcelona.
Midfielder Conor Coady spent the year with League One side Sheffield United, scoring 6 goals in 50 total appearances.
Defender Andre Wisdom has been a rock in the back for Derby County in their run to the final of the promotion playoffs. He's played in every match since arriving at Derby, and they've lost only 7 of those matches. If only he could drive as well as he plays.