Sporting an abomination of a cross-pollinated kit, Liverpool's U21 team surged into the lead via a magnificent strike by Jonjo Shelvey, only to then lose Stephen Sama to a dismissal and eventually concede a late equaliser. The 1-1 draw meant that Liverpool finished third, a place behind the Red Devils and must now face them again in a semi final play-off.
Alex Inglethorpe's team was very strong and featured the likes of Shelvey, Suso, John Flanagan, Andre Wisdom and Conor Coady, all of whom have seen first-team action. The opening score was a delightful one and came courtesy of an ebullient Shelvey. Running on to a delicious through-ball by Suso, the shiny-headed midfielder advanced on the United goal with real purpose, before blasting a screamer past the home side's custodian.
It was the type of hit that one dreams of as a kid as one pores over the pages of some football comic or magazine. A 25-yarder, struck with ferocity into the top corner, it provided a glimpse of the kind of raw potential the player possesses -- potential that must soon be fulfilled, if he's to have a first-team future.
The euphoric reaction to the goal was short-lived, however, as Liverpool were soon reduced to ten men. Centre-half Stephen Sama illegally halted the progress of United prospect Ryan Tunnicliffe and was shown red. Conor Coady stepped into the breach alongside Andre Wisdom at the heart of the young Red's defence, but momentum was lost and the Manchester side had the better of proceedings, culminating in an equaliser ten minutes from time. The unfortunate John Flanagan put through his own net in an effort to block an attempt at goal.
Liverpool weathered a late push from their hosts, who went searching for a winner. Inglethorpe's charges resisted the pressure and secured the point which will see the teams meet again.
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