Liverpool U18s 2-1 Middlesbrough U18s
U18 Premier League, Kirkby
December 3, 2016
Goals: Brewster 14′, 86′; Lambert 31′
With a number of injuries hampering Jurgen Klopp‘s senior squad, there was a knock-on effect as Critchley named his youthful side, with a debut for U16s captain Curtis Jones, a 15-year-old midfielder, at U18 level.
Nevertheless, Brewster was joined by the likes of Bobby Adekanye, Yan Dhanda, Glen McAuley and Conor Masterson in a strong starting lineup, and Critchley oversaw a promising performance from his young stars.
With Adekanye threatening throughout the first half from his position on the left flank, the U18s enjoyed some great chances in the opening stages, with their attacking interchange proving dangerous.
It was the Dutchman who laid on Liverpool’s opener, with his lofted ball towards the back post eventually finding Brewster in the penalty area, with the England U17 international turning home.
Adekanye’s pace and trickery continued to push Middlesbrough back, but it was the away side who scored the next goal, benefiting from some slack defending from the Young Reds.
Conceding a free-kick in their half, Liverpool’s back line switched off and Jack Lambert was played through with a swift pass, and the midfielder beat Shamal George to ensure a draw at half-time.
Not letting the scoreline deter them after the break, Critchley’s side continued to push Middlesbrough back in the second half, and it was Jones who came closest in the early stages.
The youngster showcased his tenacity to snatch the ball near the penalty area, before turning and curling an effort towards goal only denied by the woodwork, while Brewster almost added a second minutes later, but his surging run was thwarted.
Adekanye then went close, with the winger’s strike stopped by goalkeeper Zek Hemming, before Dhanda set McAuley up with an excellent cross, but the Irishman could only send his header wide.
It seemingly wasn’t to be for the Young Reds, with Dhanda curling a long-range effort past the post on 84 minutes, but fortunately Brewster stepped up minutes later to seal the victory with his second goal of the afternoon.
TIA Man of the Match: Rhian Brewster
Liverpool U18s: George; Lattie, Lewis, Masterson, Johnston; Jones, Coyle; Adekanye, Dhanda, McAuley; Brewster
Substitutes: Caan, Parker, Owens, Hunter, Simmonds