The Liverpool U21 side have had a strong season in PL2 play this year, but suffered a tough 3-1 defeat to Chelsea the last time out. Barry Lewtas’ side looked to get things back on track away to 13th place Blackburn. Unfortunately there was no Ben Doak in the lineup after he sustained a head injury early in the match against Sporting Lisbon last Tuesday.
With their livewire attacker missing, it was a defender who proved to be a big attacking threat on the day for the Reds. Rhys Williams almost scored in just the second minute as he got a free header off of an Owen Beck corner kick, but the center back saw the ball cleared off the line.
Williams didn’t miss when given a second opportunity. It was the same combination, with Beck sending a corner to the head of Rhys Williams in the 27th minute, and this time the defender powered the ball into the back of the net.
Liverpool saw their hard work on the attacking end undone just a few minutes later. After conceding a free kick to Blackburn, Liverpool failed to clear the initial ball in and Zak Gilsenan was able to control the ball before sending it past Harvey Davies to level the score.
Liverpool worked to get themselves back on top before the half, and broke through from a total team move starting with the goalkeeper. Harvey Davies played the ball to James Norris in midfield, who moved it to Lee Jonas on the right. Jonas combined with Melkamu Frauendorf before the ball came back in to Norris in front of goal. The midfielder finished off the move he helped to start to give the Reds a 2-1 lead just before the half.
Liverpool added a third goal shortly after starting the second half. Layton Stewart picked right back up from where he left off before missing time to an injury, sending a low finish past Thomas Kaminski in goal.
Blackburn looked to respond following the Liverpool goal, and Rhys Williams had to make a goal line clearance to preserve the lead. The Reds came close to extending their lead with less than 15 minutes remaining, but Kaminski was this time able to thwart Layton Stewart, tipping the striker’s effort around the post.
Despite controlling much of the match, Liverpool gifted Blackburn a late goal to cut the lead to a single goal. Harvey Davies misplayed a clearance, and it went to Blackburn’s Ethan Walker. The striker stroked the ball into the net with 10 minutes left to play. Both teams had a final opportunity, but neither side were able to convert, leaving the final score as 2-3 in favor of Liverpool.
The Reds sit third in the table, though they are even on points with Crystal Palace, who has a game in hand. The young Reds will be back in action on Friday, March 31 as they take on Palace in the quarterfinals of the Premier League International Cup.