U-23s: Liverpool vs Manchester United

Following the previous defeat to Derby County, Barry Lewtas took his side to Manchester to face United who were also coming off a loss to Leicester City. Lewtas changed his approach and moved from a 4-1-4-1 to a 4-2-3-1, replacing Owen Beck and Vitezslav Jaros with Yasser Larouci and Ben Winterbottom.

Match Recap

Lewtas’ side enjoyed a dominant first half. Their first goal would come from a Leighton Clarkson challenge in United’s half. Clarkson stripped Charlie McCann of the ball and moved strongly to the opponent’s penalty area. Clarkson found Jack Bearne cutting inside, who returned the ball first time to Clarkson, providing an easy tap-in to make it 1-0 in the 11th minute.

Eleven minutes later the young Reds once again were rewarded for their pressure in the United half:  this time it was Jake Cain dispossessing United’s Hannibal Mejri.  Cain took one touch and found Ben Woodburn cutting in just outside the middle of the box. Woodburn himself took one touch and struck a ball that deflected off the leg of the United defender and hit the right post before finding its way in the net.

In the 30th minute Liverpool would enjoy their third score of the half, courtesy of more poor United play. Liam Millar played a cross from the left side that met the head of a defender for a clearance, though the clearance only went as far as finding the foot of Woodburn. Woodburn immediately played it back into the six yard box, where it found a hungry Jack Bearne, who slotted it past the keeper with ease.

United would find their first league goal of the season in the 36th minute off a free kick, courtesy of a sloppy tackle just outside of the box. The ball was whipped in toward Reds keeper Winterbottom, who attempted to punch it out.  Unfortunately the punch clearance did not go far – the ball bounced off the back of a Liverpool defender and made its way back to the goal line, where a waiting Anthony Elanga tucked it into the net.

On the stroke of halftime, the young Reds found their fourth goal of the half. Larouci began the play with a throw-in from United’s half. The ball was thrown to Longstaff, who played a quick give-and-go with Larouci, finding space on the left side of the box. Longstaff swung a perfect cross in that met the foot of Jack Bearne, who used the opportunity to secure his first-half brace.

The second half was less dominating for the Reds, but ultimately proved just as comfortable (even if the score line was not as prolific). The fifth goal came from yet another calamitous mistake, as United continued to insist to play out of the back. The opposing keeper tried to play a pass that went straight to a waiting Longstaff, yards away from any possible United target. Longstaff took a couple of touches, drew the keeper out of position, and sweetly split two defenders with a shot, as the ball hit the back of the net in the 50th minute.  Eleven minutes later a moment of madness ensued – tempers flared as Leighton Clarkson’s slide tackle on Di’Shon Bernard was met with United frustration. From the replays, it does not seem like Clarkson’s tackle warranted the reaction nor the red card which he was subsequently issued. United’s Shola Shoretire was also shown red for his reaction, and both sides were reduced to 10 men. In the remaining minutes, United would score two consolation goals, and the match would end 5-3 Liverpool’s way.

Looking Forward

The Reds sit currently sit fourth in their division, and will play Brighton & Hove Albion on October 17th.

Season Leaders

Goals: Jake Cain; Jack Bearne – 2

Assists: Jake Cain; Jack Bearne; Luis Longstaff – 1