Tottenham U23s 1-0 Liverpool U23s
Premier League 2, Lamex Stadium
February 5, 2018
Goals: Roles 55′
Sent Off: Lallana 62′; Johnston 88′
It was a strong-looking team that Neil Critchley selected, with Reds three first-teamers named in his starting line-up.
Ben Woodburn also started, and left-back Tony Gallacher made his debut after arriving from Falkirk at the end of January.
Herbie Kane captained the side for the first team and 18-year-old Adam Lewis made his first appearance at this level.
Ings and Solanke both missed glorious chances early on, with the latter somehow not converting with the goal gaping, and the former firing wide after an inch-perfect Woodburn pass.
Spurs goalkeeper Luke O’Reilly made a double save to deny the two strikers in the 19th minute, and Ings had two more chances to score.
Kazaiah Sterling and Jack Roles threatened for the hosts, and they enjoyed a sustained spell of dominance, opening up the Liverpool defence at will.
It was goalless at half-time, with Kamil Grabara‘s flying save to thwart Roles the last moment of note in the first half.
The faultless Grabara made a big stop to keep out Sterling shortly after the restart, and Roles fired over, as Spurs continued to be the better team.
Roles opened the scoring 10 minutes into the second half, finishing well, and it was nothing more than the hosts’ dominance deserved.
Critchley’s side struggled to muster much of a response, and just after the hour mark, Lallana was sent off in an out-of-character incident.
The 29-year-old completely lost his head after an aerial challenge with George Marsh, grabbing him by the neck before swiftly being given his marching orders.
Lallana just got sent off for Liverpool’s U23’s for this lmao. pic.twitter.com/qsTUbBnM6F
— Jordan Clarke (@FourFourJordan) February 5, 2018
Liverpool never really recovered from that point, and a feisty contest had plenty of flash points, with George Johnston also dismissed for the Reds in the dying minutes.
It was a terrible night, but the Reds still top the Premier League 2 pile.
Ings Wasteful But Promising, Solanke Struggles
They were given the chance to get some much-needed confidence under their belt on Monday night, but it proved to be a frustrating night for the pair.
Ings may have missed a number of chances, but on the plus side he was a lively presence, with one sensational cross-field pass showing he is more than just a worker.
He always a looked a threat, even if he was wasteful.
Solanke, on the other hand, never managed to get into the game, and at times cut a downbeat character.
Nothing really came off for him and it is clear that he remains a young footballer very much developing his game.
Another Impressive Showing From Grabara
Some have called for Danny Ward to be auditioned in the role, but there have been few mentions of Grabara being given a chance.
That is understandable when you consider he is still 19 years of age, but on Monday’s evidence, his opportunity may come sooner rather than later.
Everything the Pole did was full of conviction, both with his hands and his feet, and there was a calming influence you don’t always get with Mignolet and Karius.
He is a highly impressive figure and the future is very bright for him, whether that ends up being at Anfield or elsewhere.
This was meant to be an evening that saw Lallana improve his match fitness, but it proved to be one to forget for various reasons.
The 29-year-old was never at the races at the Lamex Stadium, despite the odd trademark twist and turn, with a lack of pace on show after injury.
His sending off came from nowhere, and it was a moment that let his younger team-mates down, in a tight period in the game.
Quite why he lost his head is such surprising fashion remains to be seen, but Jurgen Klopp won’t be impressed by the incident.
TIA Man of the Match: Kamil Grabara
Liverpool U23s: Grabara, Masterson, Lewis, Johnston, Gallacher, Kane, Dhanda (Millar 72′), Lallana, Woodburn, Solanke, Ings.
Subs not used: Camacho, Kelleher, Gomes, N. Williams
Next Match: Bristol City (A) – Premier League Cup – February 13