After a week with matches, the academy was back on the pitch with both the U-18s and U-23s in league action, some loan news, and the U-19 draw in the UEFA Youth League final 16.
Liverpool (U-18) 2 Wolverhampton (U-18) 1
The Reds battled through the blowing wind to come out victorious over a tough Wolverhampton side. The Reds were for first to hit the back of the net in the 16th minute. Capitalizing off a defensive mistake, Oakley Cannonier took a first touch finish and claimed his 27th goal of the season.
It was soon the Red’s turn to gift their opponents a goal. In the 24th minute, the young Reds lost possession on the edge of the box, allowing Nathan Fraser to pounce and fire the ball into the corner for the leveler.
The match continued with the Reds maintaining most of the possession most of the chances into the half, and continued much the same into clearing skies starting the second half.
The Reds almost conceded in much the same fashion as the first half, losing possession at the top of the box, only to see a Fraser shot drag wide.
But, it was the Reds that came out with the only second-half goal in the 60th minute off a Reds corner. Luke Chamber’s corner sailed into the box for the Wolves keeper to catch, then spill in a collision with his own defender, which led to Lee Jonas to score.
The Reds took control of the match for the remaining half-hour, with chance after chance to extend the lead denied by the Wolve’s defense. The Reds moved to 28 points and second place trailing Manchester City by 5 points. The next match is a Merseyside derby for the Reds as they travel to the 5th place Toffees.
Liverpool (U-23) 1 Blackburn (U-23) 1
The hard-fought match between the Reds and Rovers was affected by extreme weather conditions, torrential rain causing two stoppages of play. The first half remained a close-fought affair, with the Reds coming close by shots from Tyler Morton and Jack Bearne.
The Reds came out in the second half with purpose, with multiple chances thwarted by an astute Rover defense. The Rovers held out to the very end, having secured the three points. But, the persistence of the young Reds would eventually pay off.
In stoppage time, a half-cleared Reds corner fell into the path of Tyler Morton, who crossed the ball, meeting Rhys William’s head and a share of the spoils. The next match for the tenth place Reds is a trip to London to face the third-place Arsenal.
Academy graduate and New Jersey native, Matteo Ritaccio has been loaned out the Charleston Battery of the USL Championship for a season-long loan concluding in October. If you have the opportunity, catch a match and support Matteo.
The draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League took place on Valentine’s Day, pairing the Reds with Genk. The Reds last drew AC Milan in December, finishing top of their group. Genk previously beat Chelsea 5-1 to reach the final 16. They will prove to be a great test for the young Reds as they vie for European glory!
Until next time, Up the Reds!