A weekly look at the Reserve and Academy teams
Welcome to the first ever edition of Second String Review. This will be a weekly feature and hope to educate people on the goings on at Melwood and Kirkby.
Second String Review is a compilation of match reviews, interviews and player development updates as well as profiles and biographies of all the players who you don’t see every Saturday!
We start with the Reserve side. Their last game was an away encounter with Everton, affectionately known as the Mini Derby, all the way back on the 23rd November…
Everton Reserves 1-1 Liverpool Reserves
Everton: Turner; Browning Duffy Garbutt Bidwell; Agard Wallace Baxter Craig; Anichebe Gueye
Liverpool: Hansen; Flanagan Wilson Robinson Mendy; Irwin Pacheco Suso Bruna; Amoo Eccleston
Goalscorers: Victor Anichebe – Dani Pacheco
Liverpool were delighted to escape the Halton Stadium with a point after being outplayed for long periods by an experienced Everton team.
Dani Pacheco scored a screamer just 20 minutes into the clash between Liverpool and Everton. After a quick free kick by Liverpool, Pacheco ghosted in behind Everton right back Tyias Browning and chipped a shot from the edge of the six yard box into the far right corner, giving Iain Turner no chance.
Pacheco’s clever chip makes it 1-0, but it was a difficult night for the Redmen.
Despite the early goal, Liverpool struggled to assert themselves on the game and Everton were level just minutes later when Emmanuel Mendy – playing on the left of defence – failed to clear and was then outpaced by Kieran Agard who squared to Anichebe for a simple tap in.
Everton were unlucky not to take the lead shortly after when Martin Hansen dropped a corner from Gueye straight to the feet of Agard, but the Dane recovered brilliantly to block the winger’s goal-bound effort. The Toffees pressure continued to mount with efforts from Nathan Craig and Victor Anichebe both requiring smart stops.
After half time Liverpool were still out of sorts and nearly made to pay for it as Magaye Gueye started to influence proceedings more and more.
Liverpool sparked to life on the hour mark when Michael Ngoo replaced David Amoo and immediately hit the post after a pass from Nathan Eccleston and Pacheco went close with only five minutes left on the clock.
The last meaningful action of the game came in the final minute as Danny Wilson producing a stunning block from Kieran Agard; Wilson had slipped on the wet surface, allowing the tricky winger a free run on goal from the edge of the penalty area, but the Scot recovered magnificently to clear Agard’s shot out for a corner.
Everton Man of the Match: Mageye Gueye – the forward was a constant nuisance and grew in stature as the game progressed.
LFC Man of the Match: Dani Pacheco – Pacheco’s stunning goal was a rare moment of brilliance in a drab Liverpool performance.
Now to the Academy, and once again Liverpool’s last game was way back in November as the lads travelled to the land’s biggest spenders, Manchester City.
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool
City U18s: Johansen; Coulsen Mappen-Walters Kennedy Skosgrud; Clowes Drury Roman Evans; Bunn Henshall
Liverpool U18s: Belford; Poor McGiveron Sama Smith; Silva Coady Rodden Stirling; Emilsson Ngoo
Goalscorers: Juan Roman, Harry Bunn – Craig Rodden, Kristjan Emilsson
Liverpool produced a good performance to earn a well-deserved draw against the prestigious Manchester City Academy.
Liverpool dominated early on, but were hit on the counter as Harry Bunn fed the mightily impressive Juan Roman who fired City ahead.
Shortly after the break, Liverpool equalised with a breath taking volley from 2nd year Craig Rodden and to everyone’s surprise, Liverpool took the lead ten minutes later when a cross found an unmarked Emilsson who took his opportunity well.
However, the lead didn’t last long as a wonderful flowing move from Manchester City allowed Harry Bunn to get behind scouser Matty McGiveron and he finished beautifully.
Late chances for both sides were not taken and so the spoils were shared after an exciting game of football.
Man City Man of the Match: Harry Bunn – a close call between himself and Juan Roman, but Bunn’s constant running and marvellous finish to earn City a point just get him the MOTM award.
Liverpool Man of the Match: Raheem Sterling – really starting to mature into a real footballer now, ran the show while Liverpool had possession.
This week we have a look at one of the most exciting talents Liverpool’s Academy has ever produced… Jesus ‘Suso’ Fernandez.
Position: Centre Midfielder
Possibly the most naturally gifted player of his generation, ‘Suso’, has made a massive impact since his arrival at Melwood in the summer of 2010.
In his first appearance for the Reds, Suso started against Wrexham for a Liverpool XI having only returned from a year-long loan at his hometown club of Cadiz a few days earlier he absolutely dominated the game from start to finish, giving a small glimpse of his immense potential.
Suso has since become a mainstay of the reserve team, despite his tender age and won many admirers because of his passing range and effortless style. At times it looks as though he doesn’t run on the turf but instead glides above it, he never seems flustered or panicked and he has the tell-tale sign of a quality footballer… he can always get himself space, even in tight situations, he’ll move half a step and find 3 yards of room to step into.
Upon signing his first professional deal with the club on the 22nd November 2010, Reserve team manager John McMahon had this to say about the prodigious talent;
“Hopefully he has a bright future at the club. He’ll only have that future if he keeps working hard and listens to what the coaching staff are saying to him. But he knows that and we hope he will start working twice as hard now.
We are looking at developing the whole player here. He has good attributes going forward and in the wide areas but he still needs to learn the other side of the game, he needs to know about the discipline and work that’s required in a team, like tracking back, tackling and staying with runners.
By playing him in midfield, like we did with Pacheco last year, it will hopefully add that other side to his game.”
Main attributes: Pace, power and passing range. Doesn’t often make bad decisions either and always looks comfortable. The boy was born to play football.
Main weaknesses: A frank and honest assessment… Suso has no major weaknesses to speak of.
Comparable Players: Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Andres Iniesta
Current Ability: 6/10
Potential Ability: 10/10
What level could he play at? Suso is good enough to be a star player for a Champions League side.
Next week we will be taking a look at a less talked about player, Danish goalkeeper Martin Hansen.