Three goals from an impressive Danny Ings secured the Liverpool U23s a 3-0 victory over Ipswich Town in the Premier League Cup.
Ipswich Town U23s 0-3 Liverpool U23s
Premier League Cup, Portman Road
October 2, 2016
Goals: Ings 3′, 80′, 90+1′
It was another strong Reds’ lineup, again featuring Mamadou Sakho alongside Tiago Ilori at centre-back, showing the strength in depth at the club at all levels at the moment.
Trent-Alexander Arnold returned at right-back, meaning Connor Randall moved to the left of defence.
Ovie Ejaria and Danny Ings also returned to the lineup, having missed the midweek International Cup loss to VfL Wolfsburg due to training with the first-team instead.
Michael Beale’s positive team selection certainly paid off, as the Reds ran riot at Portman Road.
Liverpool started brightly in Suffolk, with Ings hitting the back of the net after just three minutes, picking up the ball in a dangerous area before turning and firing emphatically past the goalkeeper.
The striker was involved throughout the first half, and also hit the bar just after the half-hour mark, before Alexander-Arnold saw an effort blocked on the goal-line.
U23s captain Harry Wilson was influential throughout, and saw a shot saved when one-on-one in the closing stages of the first half.
While Liverpool were unable to add to their lead before the interval, they had earned their 1-0 advantage, holding strong at the back and producing a number of positives moves going forward.
Beale’s young Reds took longer to get going after the break, with the manager opting to make a change to his system just after the hour by bringing on midfielder Cameron Brannagan in place of Ben Woodburn, with Brannagan hitting the post soon after.
This system alteration gave Liverpool more stability, and this proved crucial as Ings added his second with 10 minutes left to play.
The promising Brooks Lennon and Adam Phillips were introduced in the closing stages, highlighting the quality at Beale’s disposal, before Ings put the icing on the cake with his third just before full-time.
Speaking after the game, Beale hailed Ings’ contribution, saying “his enthusiasm and personality lifts everybody in the squad.”
Having now scored six goals in five games for the U23s, he could be hoping for more first-team minutes in the near future.
TIA Man of the Match: Danny Ings
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Ilori, Sakho, Randall; Stewart, Chirivella (Phillips 80′); Wilson (Lennon 85′), Ejaria, Woodburn (Brannagan 65′); Ings
Subs not used: Firth, Whelan
Next U23s’ Match: Man United (A) – Tuesday 18 October, 7pm