Ojo, Gomes & Stewart score as Liverpool U23s cruise to 4-0 win over Nike Academy

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Sheyi Ojo and Toni Gomes shone as the Liverpool U23s sealed a 4-0 friendly victory at home to the Nike Academy on Wednesday afternoon.

Mike Garrity’s side welcomed the unsigned group to Kirkby for a midweek runout, with the U23s manager including a host of familiar faces.

Along with Ojo, Connor Randall, Joe Gomez, Kevin Stewart and Harry Wilson gave the home side an experienced edge, with Jordan Williams also involved on the substitutes’ bench.

Starting strongly, the Young Reds dominated for much of the afternoon, and both Ojo and Wilson came close in the early stages, before Gomes got off the mark after just 22 minutes.

Beginning with a front-footed move from goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, Ojo combined with Paulo Alves, who fed the onrushing Gomes to finish.

Wilson pulled the strings throughout, and set up goals for both Stewart and Gomes before half-time, with the latter sealing his brace through an error from the Nike Academy defensive line.

Ojo continued to threaten after the break, and after going close a number of times, his endeavour was finally rewarded with a goal just before the hour, turning home after substitute Sam Hart’s rebounded effort.

This proved the last goal of the afternoon, but Garrity was able to take advantage of the U23s’ lead by introducing a host of promising young players.

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 17, 2016: Liverpool's Yan Dhanda in action against Crystal Palace during the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Both Conor Masterson and Rhian Brewster came on at the interval, while Yan Dhanda replaced Ojo after 64 minutes, continuing their adjustment to life at the most advanced youth level.

Masterson and Dhanda joined the likes of Gomez, Wilson and Ojo at the first team’s mid-season training camp in La Manga last week.

And speaking during the Reds’ trip to Spain, Jurgen Klopp highlighted the teenage duo as ones for the future, suggestion they could be the next players to break through at Liverpool.

“I knew them both from training with us already. I also spoke with Pep [Lijnders] and it was a logical decision,” he said.

“We could have taken Rhian Brewster or a few other guys, but Yan Dhanda and Conor Masterson are the next boys.

“Pep is the man for this. We needed two players and we decided on Yan and Conor. I know all of the boys and that’s really cool. It’s a good group.

“They have worked well, really good attitude. Yan and Conor have fitted in well.”

The U23s’ next outing comes away to West Brom in the Premier League Cup on February 28, and the likes of Masterson, Dhanda and Brewster can be hopeful of featuring again.

Liverpool U23s vs. Nike Academy: Kelleher; Whelan (Hart 45′), N Phillips (Masterson 45′), Gomez, Randall; Stewart, Brimmer (Williams 45′), Alves (Virtue 74′); Wilson (M Gomes 70′), Ojo (Dhanda 64′), T Gomes (Brewster 45′)

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