Reserves Report: LFC end season with defeat to Newcastle

Liverpool Reserves 1 – 2 Newcastle United Reserves
23rd April, 2012, Premier Reserve League

Report by Matte Lever of The Elite Development Blog

The game was played in blustery conditions at the Kirkby Academy and the conditions didn’t help a scrappy start. What was particularly noticeable was the sheer number of uncharacteristically long balls being played by the home side. Possibly due Conor Coady, who is normally the sides ‘pívot’ playing in an experimental CB role today.

Liverpool’s play continued in this disjointed manner but Newcastle began to put their foot on the ball and played some nice football. On twenty-one minutes they got their reward.

The attacking LB Yven Moyo received the ball on the half way line, the Congolese international moved forward with bounding strides towards the Liverpool goal, unchallenged, until met by a solid sliding challenge from Coady that temporarily averted the danger at the cost of a corner.

Emmanuel Mendy managed to clear the resulting Ryan Donaldson corner. But only to the eighteen-yard line, where Moyo showed great composure with his weaker (right) foot to slot the ball past the helpless Péter Gulácsi into the corner of the net. 0-1.

It got worse for Liverpool when on thirty-three minutes Newcastle played the ball out nicely from their back-line, indeed when Donaldson received the ball it was already the tenth pass of the move. In a complete change of pace England youth international, Donaldson, who has had spells with both Hartlepool United and Tranmere Rovers’ first teams this season, ran at the Liverpool goal. He took advantage of a slip by Mendy and cut inside, running now at Coady inside the box; he knocked the ball past Coady and the two collided. The referee was left with no choice. Penalty kick.

The French born nineteen year-old Mehdi Abeid, who looked a player possessing technical skills far beyond this level sent Gulácsi the wrong way and tucked the ball into the bottom corner. 0-2.

Newcastle stayed perched in the driving seat by controlling possession much better than The Reds. On 38 minutes however, Suso nipped in and stole possession in the middle of the park, releasing Nathan Eccleston down the wide right. Eccleston’s run left him only a very tight angle to shoot at.

However, the thus far quiet Raheem Sterling had accelerated to support him and was free around the Penalty spot. Eccleston however chose to shoot at the narrow angle and Jak Alnwick in the Magpies goal got down, tipped it around his near post and breathed a sigh of relief.

From the corner, Mendy, the shortest man on the field, found space in the box but headed wide.

A dismal first half display from Liverpool saw them go in 0-2 down.

In the second half the experiment was aborted and Wisdom and Coady both switch back to their more natural positions [CB & DM respectively], Sterling moved over to RW, Eccleston to LW, Ngoo came on upfront and Suso pushed into the hole to replace the substituted Krisztián Adorján.

The changes led to a bright start from Rodolfo Borrell’s team, in particular Eccleston was having a lot of joy up against [Newcastle RB] Alex Nicholson in his new LW role.

Rodolfo Borrell: All change at half-time

Indeed, it was Eccleston who received the ball wide left and burned-off Nicholson, headed for the touchline and delivered a good ball which evaded everyone in the box. Sterling picked up on the loose ball and showed great agility and determination to lose his marker (the much larger Moyo), he passed the ball across the face of goal to Ngoo who slotted home from six-yards. 1-2.

Liverpool continued to perform much better. On seventy minutes Ngoo had a great chance to pull the scores level.

Sterling and Mendy linked well down the right and the overlapping Mendy delivered a low cross right across the face of goal. All Ngoo needed to do was to stick out a foot, but the ball whistled excruciatingly past him.

Liverpool were well on top, but time and luck were running out and the game was all but over for the Reds when they went down to ten men on eighty-six minutes.

Donaldson was shielding the ball when Suso, eager to regain possession, nipped in from behind and, through the Newcastle winger’s legs, toe-poked the ball away. Donaldson went down in a heap; screaming and rolling. The referee did not give himself any time to think and showed Suso a straight red.

It was not even a bookable offence, it might have been a foul as he won the ball from behind but contact was absolutely minimal. Very harsh and very wrong from the referee, not helped by the simulation from Ryan Donaldson.

The game lost its impetus from that moment and Liverpool couldn’t come back from a two goal deficit twice in one week.

1. GK) Péter Gulácsi: Solid enough, not really tested.

2. RB) Emmanuel Mendy: Slipped at the vital moment for Newcastle’s penalty, but same as ever: a lot of effort and some ability.

3. LB) Jack Robinson: Solid, not inspiring but didn’t do anything wrong..

4. CB) Conor Coady: Looked good in both CB and DM, the team missed him in his Pivote role in the first half.

5. CB) Stephen Sama: Shaky, shame as he’s looked good most of the season. Maybe just affected by the change in CB partner today?

6. DM) Andre Wisdom: Anonymous in midfield but solid when moved back to CB- went long with a few too many passes in that position though, his composure is normally his main strength.

7. RW) Suso: Looked lively in the second half when moved into his favoured No10 position, very hard done by to be sent off.

8. CM) Michael Roberts: Very average today, not too sure what he’s done to deserve a guaranteed first team place all season. Uninspiring.

9. CF) Nathan Eccleston: Much, much better out wide. I don’t think he has the mental or physical ability to lead the line on his own yet. That’s why we looked much better once Ngoo came on for him.

10. AM) Krisztián Adorján: Poor, the worst I’ve ever seen him play for us. Sulked, lost possession, made bad choices. Not a good way to end a good season for him.

11. LW) Raheem Sterling: Quiet by his standards but his ability is always evident. So many good touches, turns, pieces of intelligence.

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