As Liverpool fans, it’s always enjoyable to see our squads dominate historic rivals Manchester United. This season has been a joy as the senior team won both matches by a whopping 9-0 margin, showcasing the gulf in class between the two sides at the moment. Much like the senior team, the U23 side imposed their will against the Red Devils in the last match of the Premier League 2 season.
Barry Lewtas’ side came out flying pressuring their Manchester United counterparts all over the field. Left back Owen Beck’s high pressure resulted in a goal in just the sixth minute of the match. He quickly closed down goalkeeper Radek Viteck as a back pass came to him, and the keeper missed the ball while focused on Beck, and the ball went off the post and in for an own goal.
Liverpool eagerly pushed for a second goal, creating two good chances shortly after taking the lead. Owen Beck again was the instigator for the first attempt, sending a low ball across the face of goal that was cleared away just before a Liverpool attacker could get onto the end of it. Layton Stewart then found himself in the box with the ball, turned, and fired a shot that went across the face of goal and just past the far post.
While Liverpool had most of the ball and the attempts, it was Manchester United who struck next. A long ball forward released Alejandro Garnacho on a counter attack with only the keeper to beat. Garnacho lifted the ball over the advancing Marcelp Pitaluga to knot the score at 1-1.
Liverpool came right back, looking to again take control over the match. The pressure again caused chaos in the Manchester United box, this time resulting in a penalty to Liverpool for a hand ball after a Tyler Morton shot. Leighton Clarkson stepped up to take the spot kick, but Vitek dove the right way and made the save.
The Reds did find a second goal not too long after the saved penalty, however. Leighton Clarkson sent a corner kick into the box, and Rhys Williams out-leapt everyone to head the ball past Vitek to give Liverpool a 2-1 lead in the 33rd minute.
Liverpool were forced into a change early in the second half after Billy Koumetio landed awkwardly and had to be stretchered off. He was replaced by midfielder James Balagizi.
Balagizi made his presence known, almost scoring a third for the Reds. Right back Conor Bradley took a ball down the right wing after an overlapping run, and his cross was met by the head of Balagizi at the back post, but the young center back could not keep his header down and sent it over the crossbar.
Liverpool did break through for a deserved third goal in the 64th minute, however. Tyler Morton won the ball in midfield and immediately played a ball that broke the lines of the Manchester United defense, playing in Jack Bearne. The attacker slotted the ball past Vitek and into the corner of the net.
With the win, Liverpool leapfrogged Manchester United to finish fourth in the Premier League 2 table. The Reds went on a great run to finish league play, going unbeaten in their last eight games. The Liverpool U23s will close out their season with the finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup against Burnley on Wednesday.