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Results & Fixtures
Riding high in the Barclays U21 Premier League thus far, Alex Inglethorpe's Liverpool Under-21s came into their most recent match against Graham Dorrans, Zoltan Gera, and the West Bromwich Under-21s having won 4 and drawn 1 in its previous 5 matches. Buoyed by the returns of loanees Michael Ngoo and Joao Carlos Teixeira to the starting lineup, the U21s had quite a strong side poised for a strong performance.
The reds started strongly, and Joao Carlos Teixeira scored his second goal in two matches early on after the opposing keeper couldn't handle a probing shot from distance. Unfortunately, however, Liverpool conceded three quick goals with themselves largely to blame. Whether it was Danny Ward hesitating to come off his line, or Adam Morgan getting caught in possession in his own half, a string of simple mistakes found Liverpool trailing 3-1. Cameron Brannagan grabbed one back just before half time by flicking a set piece into the far corner.
In the second half, Liverpool had a host of chances to equalize, but never quite buried it, and West Brom found a fourth late on to seal the victory. Inglethorpe was right to be disappointed with the result given the amount of mistakes in the back, and now the U21s find themselves in fifth place in the U21 Premier League table, with a game in hand on most of the teams above them.
Liverpool team: Ward, Ryan McLaughlin, Brad Smith, Lloyd Jones, Rafa Paez, Craig Roddan (Stephen Sama), Morgan, Teixeira, Ngoo (Samed Yesil), Brannagan, Jordon Ibe.
Next Match: Monday, November 4th, 7:00pm BST/2:00pm EST, away to Middlesbrough, live on LFC.tv.
Liverpool U18s 4 - Blackburn U18s 2, Saturday October 19th
Neil Critchley's Under-18s came into their match last Saturday looking to get their season on track, and the new manager had a strong selection of players to choose from. Most notably, Jerome Sinclair made his return to the squad, and started on the bench. Youngest Wales international ever, Harry Wilson, headlined a strong starting lineup that also included England U18 starlets Ryan Kent and Adam Phillips.
Liverpool started extremely strong, with Wilson showing the overflowing confidence he's rightly earned in recent weeks, and the team in general peppering the goal with efforts from all ranges. Wilson and Kent, in particular, looked a cut above the competition, and it was only a matter of time before the reds opened the scoring. And indeed Wilson opened the scoring after nutmegging the fullback and beating the keeper at his near post. Wilson legitimately could have scored 5 goals in the first half, but he ended with just the one.
Liverpool conceded just after the restart, but that was Blackburn's last glimmer of hope. Connor Randall sprayed fantastic through balls throughout the game from right back, and it was another that launched Ryan Kent in position to square for Alex O'Hanlon for the Liverpool's second. And then Wilson took over again. First, he beat 4 men in the box before teeing up Daniel Trickett-Smith for a goal, and then he scored Liverpool's fourth with a very composed finish. Sinclair came off the bench and had a great chance to score, but was denied from the penalty spot before Blackburn grabbed a consolation goal near the death. Wilson was the clear star man, but again another shout for Randall who had a phenomenal game.
Liverpool team: Ryan Crump, Randall, Joe Maguire, Dan Cleary, Kristof Polgar, Jordan Williams (Nathan Burke 75), Wilson, Phillips (Will Marsh 80), Kent, Trickett-Smith, O'Hanlon (Sinclair 70).
A week later, and Critchley named a changed squad with a few notable changes. Jerome Sinclair made his first start since recovering from his long term injury, and Pedro Chirivella's international clearance finally came through in time to make his official Liverpool debut. Cameron Brannagan dropped down from the U21s where he's been playing extremely well, while Kent and Wilson started on the wings again for Critchley, looking to build on his first win as Liverpool U18 manager.
Wilson continued his red hot form within 5 minutes after Brannagan played him in with a lovely first time through ball, and Sinclair had a fantastic opportunity to make it two shortly thereafter, but was denied by the Saints keeper. Trickett-Smith made it two later in the first half, after some fantastic, intricate play and a great curling finish. The game was cagey from that point, and Liverpool eventually gave away too many chances, and Southampton scored twice after halftime to equalize. Sinclair notched a comeback goal after a goalkeeping error (similar to Fernando Torres' yesterday), and it looked to be a winning streak for Critchley, but a bad mistake by keeper Ryan Crump allowed them to equalize and share the point.
It feels like Critchley's team is finding its feet. With returns from injuries and international clearances coming through, the manager has an increasingly decent squad from which to choose, and that, combined with the blistering form of the man of the minute, Harry Wilson, will hopefully see the U18s back to their winning ways. I was unable to catch the match live, but I was interested to see how Chirivella performed, and found the below video. The lad seems a composed, classy midfielder, and it's quite nice to have him officially part of the system.
Liverpool team: Crump, Randall, Maguire, Williams, Polgar (Hart), Wilson, Chirivella, Brannagan (Burke), Sinclair (O'Hanlon), Trickett-Smith, Kent. Unused substitutes: Andy Firth, Louis Robles.
Next Match: Tuesday, October 29th, 1:00pm BST/7:00am EST, away to Middlesbrough.