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Liverpool Academy Update: December Edition

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As Liverpool's academy prepares for a must-win (by 2 goals) match against Basel on Tuesday, we recap the past few weeks, including a lack of competitive matches for the U21s and a number of positive results for the U18s.

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Ojo my gosh!
Ojo my gosh!
Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images
Results & Fixtures: Under-21s
Date Competition Opponent Result Liverpool Goalscorers
11/21 Friendly Burnley U21 W 5-1 Ojo (2), Sinclair (3)
8/22 Friendly Birmingham U21 W 2-0 Dunn (Pen), Otieggigba

Without many league matches on the docket for the U21s, with the most recent in October and the subsequent not until the 17th of December, the academy has scheduled a number of friendlies to keep the lads fit and fresh.

First up, Liverpool dismantled Burnley's under-21 side in a match that featured Marc Pelosi's first start since his gruesome leg injury last season. Liverpool and USA supporters alike will be hoping that the young midfielder can rekindle the form he had found just before going down. Jerome Sinclair continues to score at a prolific rate, even if his hat-trick here will not pad his official statistics, and Sheyi Ojo, playing the furthest forward your humble scribbler has witnessed to date, continues to impress as well, apparently for England's U18 as well as for Liverpool's.

The second match saw a number of trialists feature, and in one case score a goal to cement Liverpool's victory over Birmingham's U21.

Next Match: December 17th, away to Norwich U21s, 7:00pm BST / 2:00pm EST

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Results & Fixtures: Under-18s
Date Competition Opponent Result Liverpool Goalscorers
11/22 Barclay's U18 PL Derby County U18 D 5-5 Kent (2), Canos (3)
11/26 UEFA Youth League Ludogorets U19 W 3-0 Ojo (2), Sinclair
11/29 Barclay's U18 PL Stoke City U18 W 2-0 Wilson, Marsh
12/5 Barclay's U18 PL Manchester United U18 D 0-0 NA

Things, as usual, are a bit busier on the Under 18 side of the academy, and Neil Critchley's side started with a bizarre, topsy-turvy 5-5 draw against Derby County, in a match that featured the poor defending, brilliant finishing, and exciting attacking play for which we have come to know and love Under 18 football. In fact, neither team had more than a 1 goal lead at any point. Jake Brimmer, the Australian lad about whom we've written before made his full debut at this level, and Pedro Chirivella continued his return to form and prominence in the heart of the side's midfield. Sergi Canos, who has hit a massive goal scoring streak of late, scored 3 absolutely phenomenal goals, bringing his league tally to 9 for the year.

Next, Liverpool defeated Ludogorets in the penultimate match in the group stages of the UEFA Youth League to keep their progression hopes alive. Liverpool opened with a fantastic headed goal by Ojo, assisted with a beautiful cross from the right by Chirivella. Liverpool's second was also assited by a lovely Chirivella cross, this time directly from a corner, with Sinclair rising high above the keeper and finishing nicely. Ojo completed the comprehensive victory, getting on the end of a Canos cutback across the front of the 6 yard box.

Next up, Liverpool beat Stoke 2-0 on the back of goals from Harry Wilson and Will Marsh. Wilson's goal, in particular, is among the best worked goals I have ever seen from the academy and is well worth a watch. Marsh's goal was fantastic as well, as he curled a beautiful shot from just outside the area after Ryan Kent ran nearly 60 yards with the ball and took out Stoke's defense. Kent has been in ridiculous form of late, and is rivaling Wilson for the title of Most Exciting Attacking Talent in the academy.

Finally, an exciting match ended 0-0 in the baby-derby, with United's keeper denying both Kent and Chirivella towards the end, and a young back 4 and keeper selection managing to keep a third consecutive clean sheet. These matches have set up a very excited week upcoming for the U18s.

First, the home match on Tuesday against Basel is a must win for the academy as much as it is for the senior side, and in this case only a win by a 2+ goal margin will secure advancement for Liverpool. Then, the FA Youth Cup kicks off next week, with Liverpool hosting Bradford in the first round on Monday the 15th, at 7:00pm BST / 2:00pm EST. Both matches will be shown live on LFC.tv

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