In what has been a difficult and frustrating season for the Liverpool senior team, many of the bright moments have come from some of the younger players who have made a positive impact when called upon. One of those youngsters, Ben Doak, burst into the collective consciousness of Liverpool supporters after featuring in cup and league matches this winter, showing a proclivity to make aggressive runs with the ball down the wing.
Unfortunately, Doak sustained a minor muscle injury in early February and was forced to miss several weeks of training and match play. The young Scotsman made his return to play for the Liverpool U21s on Sunday as they took on Chelsea in a Premier League 2 match up.
It was a back and forth affair, with both teams creating some quality chances. Chelsea were on the attack first, with Harvey Vale playing a dangerous low cross from within the box that Owen Beck was just able to clear from danger.
Liverpool responded with their own close call just minutes later off of a corner kick. Dominic Corness sent the ball into the box where it was met by the head of (Large) Billy Koumetio, but the ball crashed off of the woodwork.
The 17 year old Ben Doak was a constant threat down the right wing, and sent in a cross that was just to close to goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina. The Chelsea keeper came up big in a couple of other moments in the first half to deny Liverpool, first making a sharp save on Owen Beck before making a double save from Mateusz Musialowski and Melkamu Frauendorf.
The second half was more of the same. Ben Doak came close to scoring after beating hiis man on the dribble, but he could not put the ball past Slonina in net.
Liverpool thought they had a penalty, but the referee waved away the appeal after a shot from Frauendorf looked to have hit a defenders arm.
Liverpool continued to push for a goal as the clock wound towards full time. Billy Koumetio, who had scored a goal from within his own half against PSG in January, looked to duplicate the trick against Chelsea. This time, however, the long-range strike went just over the crossbar to land on the top of the net.
Liverpool had one more big opportunity late in the match. Midfielder Luca Stephenson put a shot on frame from the edge of the box, but Gabriel Slonina was able to palm the ball away.
With the scoreless draw, Liverpool remain 5th in the PL2 table with 26 points after 17 matches played. Chelsea remain 2nd in the table with 33 points from 18 matches. The young Reds will be back in action next Saturday as they host last place Leicester City in Kirkby.