Harry Wilson scored his sixth goal of the season as the Liverpool U23s drew 1-1 away to Charlton Athletic in the Premier League Cup on Friday.
Charlton U23s 1-1 Liverpool U23s
Premier League Cup, The Valley
September 29, 2017
Goals: Anderson 35′; Wilson 42′
Neil Critchley‘s young Reds took to southeast London on Friday evening, looking to preserve their unbeaten record in 2017/18 as they kicked off their Premier League Cup campaign.
Standing in their way were Jason Euell’s Charlton youngsters, and Critchley was without a host of key names including Kamil Grabara, Ben Woodburn and Rhian Brewster.
The 38-year-old was still able to include the likes of Wilson, Cameron Brannagan, Yan Dhanda and Danny Ings, however, giving his side a strong chance of victory.
- Woodburn left out fuelling speculation of first-team role
- Young Reds go behind to Anderson strike
- Wilson levels scores after error from Charlton goalkeeper
- Finely poised second half heralds no Liverpool breakthrough
- Critchley’s side remain unbeaten after seven games
Critchley opted for a change of formation at a quiet Valley, fielding a back three of Mich’el Parker, Lloyd Jones and captain Corey Whelan as a solid platform to build from defence.
The young Reds struggled in the early stages, however, as they slowly got to grips with a new system, and Charlton forward Terrique Anderson fired the hosts ahead on 35 minutes to capitalise.
With Matty Virtue dangerous in a roving role, the versatile 20-year-old turned provider for Wilson, as Addicks goalkeeper Jordan Beeney missed his cross, allowing the Welshman to tap home.
Opportunities were few and far between for the visitors in the first half, and they could feel fortunate to go into half-time at 1-1.
Liverpool took control after the break, but took their time to craft openings, though Brannagan and Ovie Ejaria were impressive pulling the strings from midfield.
An injury for Parker prompted Critchley to make two changes, with Conor Masterson replacing the centre-back, while Bobby Adekanye was withdrawn as another ex-Barcelona youngster, Juanma, took his place.
The lesser-spotted Juanma was clearly eager to make an impression in the Premier League Cup, and the Spaniard almost found Virtue in the six-yard box with a floated cross on the move.
But despite a busy second half resulting in five minutes of added time, Critchley’s charges were unable to find the killer ball needed to put Charlton to the sword again.
The U23s are next in action with a friendly against Huddersfield Town on October, while their next outing in the cup comes at home to Bristol City on November 5.
TIA Man of the Match: Ovie Ejaria
Liverpool U23s: Kelleher, Virtue, Jones, Parker (Masterson 72′), Whelan, Brannagan, Ejaria, Dhanda (Kane 80′), Adekanye (Juanma 72′), Wilson, Ings
Subs not used: Firth, Phillips
Next match: Huddersfield Town (A) – Friendly – October 7