As Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard observed from the stand, Steve Cooper's U18s advanced to the last eight of the FA Youth Cup at Anfield last night. Yet another impressive display from the Liverpool youngsters saw them survive a second half Leeds revival to progress on a 3-1 scoreline.
Cooper praised "the character of the players" and was proud that they had "handled the situation well." Best of an impressive bunch was Jordon Ibe, who claimed a brace in the first half. His bustling display must surely have caught the eye of the onlooking duo of luminaries, as he opened the scoring on the half-hour and then doubled his tally within 5 minutes, with a spectacular effort that saw him run powerfully from his own half, execute a couple of step-overs, turn the Leeds defence inside-out and fire home clinically with his left foot.
Ibe was a half-a-million pound capture from Wycombe Wanderers and is another, like Ryan McLaughlin, to have enjoyed a taste of first team action on the club's pre-season tour of America, when he played the first half against MLS side Toronto. He subsequently represented England at U18 level against Italy in October and has impressed for Liverpool's youth sides.
Another to catch the eye was Jack Dunn, who sealed the victory for The Reds in stoppage time, after a move involving Jordan Rossiter and Kristoffer Peterson. When one factors-in the highly promising Jerome Sinclair, the future begins to look very bright indeed for Liverpool's attack. In the interim, with apologies to Rafa Benitez, Hull await Liverpool's tyros in the quarter-finals.
Video by MrBoywunder