Adam Phillips impresses as Liverpool U18s ease past Bradford in FA Youth Cup

Liverpool under-18s began their FA Youth Cup campaign in style with a comfortable 2-0 win over Bradford City at Langtree Park on Monday Evening.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Liverpool's Adam Philips in action against Brondby IF on his debut during a preseason friendly match at Brøndby Stadion. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool U18s 2-0 Bradford City U18s
FA Youth Cup Third Round
Monday, 15th December 2014, Langtree Park

Lighting quick start

Liverpool lined out in a 352 formation just like the first team did the previous day. The Reds’ only players on the flank were Sheyi Ojo and Sergi Canos, two very offensive players. I feared that Liverpool might get exposed at fullback when I saw the line up. I need not to have feared as the game was effectively over within the first 5 minutes, when Liverpool scored two quick fire goals.

The first goal came from a short back pass by Bradford City’s defender James Pollard was almost intercepted by Jerome Sinclair. Sinclair put the keeper under pressure allowing Ojo to pick up the ball just outside the Bradford City box, Ojo cut inside and passed to Spaniard Sergi Canos who finished into an empty net to break the deadlock.

Liverpool’s second soon followed when Pedro Chirivella passed to Ojo. Ojo passed to Sinclair in the left channel, Sinclair placed his shot with right foot into the near corner to make the score line 2-0.

European Football - UEFA Youth League - Group B - Liverpool FC v FC Basel

First half dominance

Liverpool were completely dominant in the first half, creating numerous chances. There was a huge gulf in class between the two sides. Liverpool’s backline were solid, the midfield completely dominated their opposition and the forward players created numerous chances with clever passing and movement. Ojo and Canos were unplayable at times and Sinclair was excellent at centre forward he is very skilful with two good feet. Once he gets a little stronger he will be a very good player. Liverpool had a number of chances to add to their two goals with Ryan Kent and Sinclair having efforts blocked and Adam Philips rattling the crossbar.

Midfield Dominance

Liverpool’s centre midfield completely controlled the game in the first half. Jordan Rossiter was excellent in the holding role. His tackling was crisp and he stopped the opposition from counter attacking on numerous occasions. He seldom, if ever gives the ball away and likes to keep things simple.

Pedro Chirivella had another excellent display. His teammates are constantly looking to get him on the ball. He is very comfortable in possession and sees a picture of what is going on around him at all times. His link play with Canos in particularly is top class. I have no doubt that Chirivella will progress to our first team once he gets a little stronger.

Super Adam Philips

While Chirivella is the fulcrum of the side, Philips is the key man to open defences. Liverpool signed Philips as an 11 year old from Blackburn Rovers and he has long being seen as a bright young talent. Philips can find a man with 60 yards pass. He can also thread a pass between a centre back and full back and find a forward player. His crossing is excellent and he usually whips the ball in with pace into dangerous areas. His set pieces are both precise and deadly. He hit one brilliant free kick from 25 yards midway through the first half that rattled the Bradford City cross bar.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 9, 2014: Liverpool's Adam Phillips celebrates beating FC Basel 3-0 during the UEFA Youth League Group B match at Langtree Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Philips was a UK BMW champion as a youngster, he is still a little on the light way side but he isn’t yet 17. He has plenty of time to fill out his tall frame. Philips has a bit of everything and is the most exciting attacking midfield talent we are developing since our captain made his way through the ranks.

Second half

The second half never lived up to the first. Bradford were slightly better and Liverpool slightly worse. Bradford never really looked like getting back into the game. Liverpool were so dominant they took off Ojo and Kent just after the hour mark. Chances were at a premium in the second half, yet Liverpool ran out comfortable winners.

Next round opponents

Liverpool will play Derby County at home in the next round. In a recent U18 League match both sides drew 5-5 in a bizarre game. I’d like to think Liverpool would play this match at Anfield. I personally feel all our home FA Youth games should be played there if it possible and not just from the fifth round onwards.

Player ratings

Firth 7, Whelan 7, Brewitt 7.5, Polgar 7, Rossiter 8, Chirivella 8.5, Phillips 8.5, Canos 8, Kent 7.5, Ojo 8, Sinclair 8.
Subs: Wilson 6, Lewis 6, Ejaria 6.
Unused Subs: Travis & Wheeler.

Man of the Match

Adam Philips’ long range passing, set plays and crossing are similar to a young Steven Gerrard. He is an outstanding young talent that will only get better. Chirivella was again excellent and didn’t put a foot wrong and he was the fulcrum of the Liverpool midfield where Rossiter was also excellent in the holding role. Ojo, Sinclair and Canos were outstanding also.