Liverpool’s U23 side was in action today against Leeds United in the Premier League 2. Some of the brightest young talents in the LFC Academy, however, were not involved in the match. Both Kaide Gordon and Conor Bradley were omitted from the side completely, leading to speculation that both would be involved with the senior team on Tuesday as they take on Norwich in the League Cup.
There were still some talented players in the line up, albeit many on the younger side. A trio of U18s were probably the most recognizable names, with Marcelo Pitaluga in net, Billy Koumetio in the center of defense, and Mateusz Musialowski in midfield. Leeds, on the other hand, featured some very experienced players, including Pascal Struijk. You might remember him from when he dislocated Harvey Elliott’s ankle a week ago.
It was a rough outing for Liverpool from the early goings. Just 13 minutes into the match, Leeds found the back of the net from a spectacular effort from Joe Gelhardt. Gelhardt, who hails from Liverpool, hit a lob from 45 yards out that went over the head of Marcelo Pitaluga. The Liverpool keeper managed to get a hand to the ball, but couldn’t get enough force to keep the ball out of the net.
Liverpool looked to level proceedings after Billy Koumetio played a ball over the top to Tyler Morton. The Liverpool midfielder tried to chip the keeper but Kristoffer Klaesson was able to make the save to preserve the lead.
It seemed like Liverpool would make it into the half with only a one goal deficit, but Leeds managed to strike again in first half stoppage time. Gelhardt was again involved, this time as the provider. He carried the ball through the Liverpool defense before slipping a ball across the face of net for Amari Miller to finish.
Tyler Morton, another potential option to make the bench for the senior team against Norwich, was withdrawn at halftime. Elijah Bonner-Dixon was brought on in his place. Morgan Boyes was also brought in for Dominic Corness.
Boyes came close to helping put Liverpool on the score board in the 52nd minute. He delivered a free kick that made its way to Billy Koumetio, but the center back put his header over the bar.
Leeds ramped the pressure back up just a few minutes later. Stuart McKinstry forced Marcelo Pitaluga into a smart save from a volleyed strike before Pascal Struijk found the back of the net with a header from the resulting corner to give Leeds a 3-0 lead.
Joe Gelhardt again struck from long distance to give Leeds a fourth goal. This time the Liverpudlian smacked an unsaveable left-footed shot into the top corner from 30 yards out.
Mateusz Musialowski had a tough day, and was physically bullied off the ball at times. He did manage to fashion a chance for himself midway through the second half, but sent his shot wide of the net.
Despite giving up four goals, Marcelo Pitaluga did manage to finish the night on a high note. The young keeper denied Gelhardt’s bid for a hat trick from the penalty spot after Gelhardt was fouled by Morgan Boyes in the box.
Liverpool sit in 9th place in the PL2 after the demoralizing loss. The young Reds take on the Chelsea U23s, who are currently winless, next Friday.