BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 2, 2016: Liverpool's manager Michael Beale during the Premier League International Cup match against FC Porto at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool U23s 1-1 West Brom U23s: Brannagan strike earn Reds a draw in Beale’s last game

Liverpool’s U23s drew 1-1 with West Brom on Tuesday evening, with Cameron Brannagan’s neatly-taken finish earning the Reds a point.

Liverpool U23s 1-1 West Brom U23s

Prenton Park, December 6, 2016

Goals: Brannagan ’74; Wright ’26

Outgoing Michael Beale named a strong-looking starting line-up for the visit of the Baggies, as some of Liverpool’s star youngsters returned. It was Beale’s final game as U23 coach, with his departure from the club confirmed shortly after full-time.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria, Sheyi Ojo and Ben Woodburn all came into the 11, helping form a hugely exciting team.

There was no Joe Gomez though, with the promising defender watching Barcelona in the Champions League with Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team squad. Mamadou Sakho once again started at centre-back.

Pedro Chirivella and Brannagan were looking to impress, having fallen down the first-team squad pecking order of late.

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 6, 2016: Liverpool's Ben Woodburn in action against West Bromwich Albion during the FA Premier League Cup match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Alexander-Arnold, Ejaria, Ojo, Woodburn all start
  • Brannagan with a lovely equaliser
  • Reds dominant but have to make do with a point

The Reds made a confident start at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park, with Tiago Ilori heading Harry Wilson‘s inch-perfect corner wide of the target.

Woodburn – playing as centre-forward not on the left as usual – then missed with a shot, following a smart turn. It was certainly a drop in intensity for the 17-year-old, following his goalscoring heroics against Leeds United a week ago.

In truth, it was an opening 25 minutes that had very little to offer, in terms of entertainment, but shortly after, the game had its first goal.

Beale’s men found themselves behind, with Andre Wright’s header finding its way over goalkeeper Kamil Grabara, giving Liverpool’s youngsters an uphill task on the Wirral.

Before half-time, Alexander-Arnold did his best to repeat his assist for Divock Origi against Leeds, but Ojo couldn’t quite latch onto the right-back’s cross.

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 6, 2016: Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo the FA Premier League Cup match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool trailed at the interval, and although they had dominated, it had been far from a convincing showing.

The Reds once again struggled to impose themselves onto the game in the early stages of the second-half, with West Brom looking solid.

Woodburn often looked Liverpool’s most likely man to break through the Baggies’ defence, and his low effort was kept out by Jack Rose nine minutes after the restart.

With 17 minutes left on the clock, the Reds were level. Brannagan produced a lovely dinked finish into the corner, following good work from Ojo. It was no more than they deserved against a negative West Brom outfit.

Liverpool were going for the kill in the latter stages, with Harry Wilson denied by Rose and substitute Brooks Lennon unable to convert the rebound.

The Baggies held out in a one-sided finale, with Ejaria hitting the post in the dying seconds of the game.

Beale’s final game in charge of the U23s ended in a draw – attention now turns to next Monday’s home clash with Arsenal.

Liverpool U23s XI: Grabara, Alexander-Arnold, Ilori, Sakho, Juanma (Lennon 71), Chirivella, Brannagan, Wilson, Ejaria, Ojo, Woodburn.

Next Match: Arsenal – (home, Monday 12th December)

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