Melkamu Frauendorf got his first start as Harvey Blair, Layton Stewart, James Balagizi, and Tyler Morton all began on the bench, getting some well-deserved rest after the fantastic shifts they have put in. It did not take very long for Bridge-Wilkinson to see his starting 11 choices pay off as Oakley Cannonier put one past the United keeper just after two and a half minutes of play. Sean Wilson played a great ball thirty yards down the line to Isaac Mabaya who then quickly whipped it into the box finding Cannonier who slotted it calmly into the back of the net.
The Reds would find a second goal 26 minutes later, as Mabaya beat United keeper Mee to a ball that was played over the entire United back line from Scouser, Lee Jonas. The entirety of the goal was a master class on playing it out the back, as all of Liverpool’s back line played a role in the buildup to Jonas’s lofted assist. Mabaya was not only able to muscle his defender, but outplay the keeper while showing off his delicate control, as he took one touch high past Mee and finished it smoothly with his head. Liverpool would go into the break up 2-0, despite a lively United performance.
The young Reds came out in the second half just as they did in the first, putting heavy pressure on United’s backline and winning a corner just a couple of minutes into the restart. Dominic Corness, known as “The Wand” to the academy coaches, guided a beautiful ball to the back post where it was met by the head of the skipper, Jarell Quansah. Quansah, who also played a tremendous game defensively, was making an unmarked run outside of United’s defense, leaving the keeper with no chance as the captain’s header took a bounce off the grass between the legs of Mee.
Shortly after, Liverpool found its fourth goal of the game. A perhaps controversial tackle by Luca Stephenson saw the Reds win the ball back just outside of the box. From there the ball would find Blair, who curled a shot to the back post only to have it hit the post. However, Cannonier was there to clean up the spill and play it over to Max Woltman, who blasted it past Mee, getting a well-deserved goal after his efforts in the game. Just as against Leicester City, the young Reds gave up a consolation goal after Omari Forson beat Jakub Oyrzynski, going low on his right side.
The match would end 4-1 and thus capping off the preseason with a combined 18-2 in Liverpool’s favor over the last four matches. They have been clicking on all cylinders and we hope to see that form continue into the season this Saturday when they play away at Manchester United. One thing is for sure: there is a ton of talent on this young U-18 team and we will have to sit back and enjoy the year. Do not be surprised if you see a couple of these young guys make the squad list for an early FA Cup or Carabao tie.