Liverpool U21s moved themselves into 2nd place in the U21s Elite Group with a comfortable win over bottom of the table West Brom at The Academy.
Liverpool U21s 2-0 West Bromwich Albion U21s
There was a pleasant surprise in the U21s lineup as Jon Flanagan made a return to the lineup after a long injury lay off. He was one of several players Liverpool fielded with first team football under his belt as Andre Wisdom continued his recent return to central defence while Suso and Adam Morgan also got another chance to impress.
Before kick off both sides observed a minutes silence in memory of the 96 fans who died at Hillsborough and Liverpool wore black armbands.
Despite Liverpool dominating early possession it was West Brom who created the better chances in a fairly eventless first half. Joel Ambalu’s well timed run got him in behind the Reds defence and he surely would have put the visitors into the lead if it was not for a brilliant last ditch block by stand-in left back Craig Roddan.
Liverpool’s best chance fell to Adam Morgan who followed on a shot by Adorjan but as the goalkeeper parried the in-form striker couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough and airkicked.
The match wasn’t helped by the bizarre weather at Kirkby; one minute it was mild and dry before a freezing wind and driving rain assaulted the players and fans alike just before half time.
However, from the moment the second half kicked off their was only going to be one winner; Liverpool were dominant immediately and managed to take the lead when the impressive Suso received the ball deep in the Baggies half; his floated cross was met at the back post by countryman Nacho to give Liverpool the lead.
Seemingly liberated by this goal Liverpool, and particular Suso, started to enjoy themselves and a free-flowing passing move allowed Conor Coady to find space 25 yards out; the skipper steadied himself before firing firmly with his instep into the bottom corner.
It could have been better for Liverpool but West Brom goalkeeper Shane Lewis produced several top saves to deny the Reds; even when he was beaten the woodwork was not as both Coady and Adorjan were unlucky to not extend the lead.
Overall though it was a good win for Liverpool with some extremely pleasing football. The stunning performance of Suso and the impressive Coady were the stand out performers.
The victory makes it a good weekend for Liverpool’s Academy, despite the 2-0 home loss to Chelsea in the Youth Cup on Friday the U18s bounced back on Saturday with a 4-0 win over Wolves at The Academy.
A squad comprised mainly of U16s defeated the Midlands outfit thanks to goals from Alex O’Hanlon (2), Jerome Sinclair and Harry Wilson.
LFC XI: Gulacsi; Flanagan, Sama, Wisdom, Roddan; Teixeira, Coady, Adorjan; Suso, Morgan, Nacho.
Subs: Ward; Baio (Flanagan), Mukendi (Teixeira)
West Brom XI: Lewis; Francis, Birch, Daniels, Smart; Scott, Atkinson, Jones, Nabi; Roofe; Ambalu.
Subs: Ross; Donnellan, McCalla, Jones (Ambalu)
Goals: Nacho, Coady.