While the Liverpool senior team season has been primarily one of futility, the LFC U21 side has showcased some of the tantalizing talent waiting in the wings. Barry Lewtas’ side has been around the top third of the table in Premier League 2 play this season, and his squad had some reinforcements available as they took on last place Leicester City on Saturday.
Ben Doak received his second start in a row after returning from a minor muscle injury, and senior team midfielder Arthur Melo apparently does actually exist, getting a run out in midfield as he works his way back to fitness after a four month layoff. Layton Stewart, who had been the Academy side’s top scorer, was fit enough for the bench for the first time since December.
While most of the focus was on Arthur, it was Ben Doak who stole the show against the Foxes. The Scottish dynamo proved a threat early on, driving down the right wing and sending in a low cross that Bobby Clark tucked home in just the 4th minute.
Leicester City equalized just a few minute later after Marcelo Pitaluga spilled a save right in from of Kian Pennant. Liverpool looked to go back on top, with Doak proving to be a livewire. He forced Chituru Odunze into a save, and then came a whisker from touching in a low cross from Harvey Blair. Doak finally forced his way through to put Liverpool ahead again in the 41st minute, finishing off a header at the back post from a Dominic Corness cross.
The young Scot wasn’t done in the first half either, showing off his close control as he drove into the box in stoppage time. His shot saw his shot take a ricochet off the goalkeeper’s head and off the post before finding its way into the net. The goal was credited as an own goal to Odunze, but Doak was again the driving force for the goal.
Liverpool built on their lead early in the second half, with Doak tucking away his second official goal of the match. This time it was Harvey Blair breaking at pace, and his low ball across the face of goal was tapped in by Doak.
Max Woltman and Layton Stewart entered the fray in the 62nd minute. It was the first action for Stewart after being out of action since December. Stewart got right back into the action, forcing a save from Odunze just after coming on the pitch.
It was Large Billy Koumetio, however, who would get on the score sheet next. The towering defender headed home a corner kick from Dominic Corness to give the young Reds a 5-1 lead. It was the second assist for Corness on the day.
Ben Doak made his mark on the match one last time before being subbed off. He again terrorized defenders on the dribble before teeing up Max Woltman for an easy tap in.
Layton Stewart got back amongst the goals in the dying minutes of the match. Lee Jonas delivered a perfect through ball for the striker, and Stewart left no doubt on the finish, calmly putting the ball past the hapless goalkeeper to give Liverpool a 7-1 lead.
The big win pushed the young Reds back up into 3rd in the PL2, though Crystal Palace is only a point behind with a game in hand. Barry Lewats and his squad will be back in action next weekend as they travel to London to take on Arsenal.