Michael Beale’s Liverpool U21s side lost 1-0 to 2.Liga side FC Erzgebirge Aue in the final game of their pre-season tour of Germany.
The young Reds, who will become an U23s selection when the 2016/17 campaign begins following the inception of Premier League 2, took to the Amberger Sportpark on Wednesday night.
Taking on German second-division side Erzgebirge Aue, Beale fielded a strong youth lineup, including centre-back Lloyd Jones, who captained the side in Aue.
Andy Firth took his place in goal, shielded by a back four of Jones, Kane Lewis, Conor Masterson and Sam Hart, while Herbie Kane and Adam Phillips shored up the midfield.
In a formation similar to Jurgen Klopp‘s regular 4-2-3-1, Beale saw Madger Gomes, Brooks Lennon, Bobby Adekanye and Jack Dunn operate in a fluid forward line.
Beale’s side began strong, with Dunn testing goalkeeper Martin Mannel on a number of occasions, but were unable to break the deadlock.
Coming against a side who had won their previous pre-season clash 31-0, Liverpool held firm, with strong defensive organisation led by the experienced Jones.
Erzgebirge Aue scored just before half-time, however, with Christian Tiffert slamming home from just inside the penalty area, with the young Reds’ defence stranded.
Beale made a number of changes after the interval, most notably with Welsh winger Harry Wilson returning from five months on the sidelines with a broken toe.
Wilson and Toni Gomes both went close in the second half, with the latter almost levelling the scores late on with a header.
After drawing 1-1 with 3.Liga side SGS Grossaspach on Saturday afternoon, this defeat saw Beale’s side continue their progress despite the result.
“Overall the boys can be pleased with the first two weeks of pre-season and it was good to have Harry back in action,” he explained.
“The staff and players have had an excellent time in Germany and I must say a big thanks to our head of education and welfare Phil Roscoe for his part in organising this training camp.
“We now return home to step up our programme with games against Rhyl, Celtic, Morecambe and MK Dons over the next 10 days and this gives us a great platform for the season.”
Liverpool arranged their final friendly clash with MK Dons earlier in the week, set to take place at Stadium MK on August 1.
Liverpool U21s pre-season 2016/17 dates:
- July 24 – Rhyl (A) 2pm
- July 27 – Celtic U21s (A) 5pm
- July 30 – Morecambe (A) 3pm
- August 1 – MK Dons (A) 7.45pm