Liverpool U-18s vs Leicester City U-18s

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side have been impressive so far in their preseason campaign. Winning 5-0 against both Crewe and Huddersfield Town, they took their great run of form against challengers Leicester City on Tuesday and produced more of the same. Having won 4-1, this youth side has now scored 14 goals in their last three games while giving up only one, a penalty courtesy of a sloppy tackle by Sean Wilson.

Jakub Ojrzynski, the big Pole in goal, had himself a wonderful game with several big saves in the first half. Most notably, a saved penalty after being wrongly called for a foul when coming off his line and cleanly tackling Leicester’s Will Russ. Can we get some VAR in the U-18s?? Only kidding. Can you imagine the lows fans of other clubs would stoop to? We already have to deal with constant illegitimate claims of VAR aiding in Liverpool’s title. Ojrzynski guessed right and made a great save to keep the shutout in tact. As the saying in the States goes, “ball doesn’t lie.”

The young Reds enjoyed another dominating performance as they welcomed back Layton Stewart to the starting 11. Having missed the last game, Stewart wasted no time putting pressure on Leicester’s defense, assisting a Tom Hill goal and chipping one past Leicester keeper, Trialist, to add to his preseason tally. In a moment of magic, Stewart intercepted an errant throw from Trialist, teased a shot on his left, dragged the ball to his right and delightfully chipped it right over the keeper from the edge of the 6 yard line. Stewart, who had a hat trick against Crewe, is one of this young squad’s brightest talents and looks to cement himself as the future number nine.

Liverpool’s third goal was a superbly orchestrated team goal, the best of the preseason so far. Starting with Conor Bradley’s ball from his own half to a waiting James Balagizi, he then flicked the ball on to Stewart. After an exchange of four passes between them, Stewart rolled a perfect ball into the box where Balagizi played it across to an open Tom Hill making it three first half Liverpool goals and a second for Tom Hill.

In the second half, Liverpool continued the pressure and saw their efforts pay off on a Luke Chambers cross. Similar to Sean Wilson’s cross against Huddersfield Town, the ball was played as a cross to the back post but slowly looped over the keeper and found itself in the side netting. You take what you can get, right? Good things happen when you play the ball into the box! Unfortunately, the young Reds couldn’t hold on to a third consecutive clean sheet as Sean Wilson’s tackle in the box gave up a second penalty for the day. This time Leicester’s Maswahnise stuck it past keeper Harvey Davies in the 81st minute and gave Leicester City their consolation goal for the match.

Man of the match honors have to go to Layton Stewart this time around. From winning balls back in his own half, intercepting errant passes near the opponent’s box, to contributing to three of the four Liverpool goals, Stewart was all over the pitch. He made intelligent runs, accurate, probing passes, and consistently created scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

If these three preseason matches are any indication of what to expect from the youngsters this year, we are going to have quite the enjoyable journey.