What a fantastic week to be a Red! The weekend started off with goals abound by the academy, a record ninth league cup, and the European progression for the young Reds.
Arsenal (U-23) 1 Liverpool (U-23) 4
The first of the two trips to London proved fruitful as the young Reds ran riot against their London opponents. The first half had a cagey start, with Tyler Morton taken off in the 19th minute with a knock. The opening goal came just before the half with Jack Bearne scoring off a deflection for Arsenal midfielder Miguel Azeez.
The Reds started off the second half with a booming header in the 51st from Billy Koumetio set up by a brilliant corner from Leighton Clarkson, to put the Reds up by two goals. The Arsenal reduced the lead with a brilliant finish from Marcelo Flores.
Four minutes later the game would get turned on its head, when Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand would get sent off for a bad tackle on Jarell Quansah, leaving the Gunners a man down. The Reds turned on the screws in the 71st minute as Jack Bearne made a scampering run into the box, dummied the Arsenal defense, and set up Conor Bradley to restore the two-goal lead. The kids were not done, as the fancy footwork of Max Woltman proved too much, and scored the fourth in stoppage time. Next up for the 8th place, Reds is a visit from the 6th place Tottenham Hotspur on the 12th of March.
Everton (U-18) 1 Liverpool (U-18) 3
The Reds continued their dominance of their neighbors with a brilliant display from Harvey Blair. The Reds were on the front foot from the match start and went forward in the 6th minute. Lee Jonas gained a position at the center of the pitch, made an imperative run down through the middle, provided a fantastic through ball to Harvey Blair. Blair dragged the Everton defense and released a scintillating shot into the far corner to put the Reds on the score sheet.
Five minutes later, Everton drew level with a cross from Jenson Metcalfe met the head of Martin Sherif. But, the Reds would have none of it, and after a stalemate for almost 30 minutes, restored their lead for good. In the 38th minute, Isaac Mabaya forced a defensive error outside the Everton box, drove into the box to send a low cross into Blair. Blair released an unstoppable shot and grabbed his brace. Everton’s woes continued, Elijah Campbell’s forward pass from an Everton backpass, was intercepted by Bobby Clark. Clark drove the pitch, laid off the ball to James McConnell. McConnell grasped the ball, sent it forward back to Clark, for Clark to tuck the ball into the back of the net for the third and final goal. The Reds came close numerous times in the second half, with brilliant runs from Harvey Blair. But, the Reds were never able to extend their lead. The next match for the 2nd place Reds is a visit to Stoke City on March 5th.
Liverpool U19 vs KRC Genk U19 1-1 PEN (4-3)
The Reds progressed to the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League in a cagey affair that ended the hard way. The Reds were on the front foot from the start of the match with Oakley Cannonier denied an opener twice by a resolute Genk defense. The chess match continued into the first half, with Genk’s Deniz Arabaci denied by a Harvey Davies stop. Cannonier was denied again in the 40th minute as his clipped ball was thwarted by Genk GK Tobe Leysen.
It was the Reds who got on the scoresheet first as their pressure on the Genk defense proved fruitful. On the 43rd minute, Max Woltman knocked down a Melkamu Frauendorf cross into the path of Cannonier to nod into the back of the net.
It was Reds that barely hung onto a Genk onslaught throughout the second half, with the visitors scuppering chance after chance. The match ended 1-1 and went straight to spot-kicks. Davies proved the hero saving penalties from Tuur Rommens and Geusens, and leading the Reds to a shootout win. The Reds face Juventus in the next round on their path to European glory.
That concludes this week’s Academy wraps up. Be sure to follow this same spot next week for more play-by-play round-up of the future stars of our beloved club.
Up the Reds! YNWA