For Barry Lewtas’ U21 squad, it was an opportunity to get some competitive minutes after not playing a match since early November. The match was played behind closed doors, so there was no full match report, but Lewtas did reveal a few nuggets, including that Layton Stewart continued his run of form with four goals on the day.
“It was great to give the lads some minutes and it was a very good performance,” said Lewtas of his squad.
“Fleetwood scored three late goals, but overall we played very well. Layton is getting sharper and sharper and he’s full of confidence after making his first-team debut.”
Stewart was handed a start for the Liverpool senior team in the EFL Cup match against Derby. It was a huge moment for Stewart, who missed over a year of action with an ACL tear. For Lewtas, seeing Stewart get the call up after working his way back was a sensational moment.
“It was another proud night for the Academy when our manager handed Layton his debut. Layton is a local lad who has been here since pre-Academy and has gone all the way. Like any boy who comes through the journey, he’s had his setbacks, but he’s worked ever so hard and he’s scored goals at Premier League 2 level and been excellent for us. To get his debut was a moment he will never forget and he knows the hard work continues if he wants more chances with the first team.”
The U21 side are still officially on break during the FIFA World Cup. Their next listed match is not until January 8.
Back in Liverpool, the U18 team looked to continue their fine run of form this season, taking on Everton at Finch Farm. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s LFC side were missing their top scorer, Lewis Koumas, who missed out due to an injury.
Everton put pressure on the Reds from the outset, forcing Luke Hewitson into several big saves in the opening 20 minutes. Liverpool started to find their footing, and Francis Gyimah playing in a dangerous cross that had to be dealt with by the Everton goalkeeper.
The Blues opened the scoring after Kerron Samuels lost the ball for Liverpool, and Martin Sherif was finally able to beat Luke Hewitson. Everton piled on the pressure and would have broken the game open had it not been for the heroics by Hewitson in net.
Liverpool looked to exert some control over the match to start the second half, and Francis Gyimah again caused problems, this time sending a shot just over the crossbar. Trent Kone-Doherty also got into the action, getting a shot away that was deflected just wide of the post.
Terrance Miles came closest to scoring for Liverpool off of a corner, but his header was cleared off the line. While Liverpool pushed forward to try and find an equalizer, it was Everton who scored next with Coby Ebere finishing off a counter attack for a 2-0 lead.
Liverpool didn’t quit, however, and were able to claw a goal back late. Kyle Kelly drew the Reds within one with a goal in the 90th minute, but that was all Liverpool were able to manage.
Despite the loss, the U18 squad still sits third in the table in the U18 Premier League North division. The young Reds will be back in action on Saturday when they host the division leaders Sunderland.