Liverpool Under-23s suffered a late defeat to Man United at Anfield on Friday night, with the visitors scoring twice in the final 10 minutes.
Liverpool U23s 1-2 Man United U23s
Premier League 2, Anfield
March 9, 2018
Goals: Lewis (65′); Riley (80′), Gribbin (83′).
It was a steep learning curve for Liverpool’s young players, conceding two goals in four minutes late on.
The Reds had taken the lead through Adam Lewis early in the second half, but goals from Joe Riley and Callum Gribbin – the second from the penalty spot – gave United the victory.
In front of a good crowd of around 5,000 supporters in the Kop, Lewis had opened the scoring on 65 minutes with a lovely shot from a free-kick from wide on the right.
Lewis, a local lad, has been sensational for the Under-18s this season and was recently promoted the 23s.
Not long after, goalkeeper Danny Ward made a superb double save, which added to his first-half saves which included a save inside the first minute to deny the visitors an early lead.
Ward could do little about either goal, with Riley’s equaliser from the edge of the box a smart finish but it was disappointing that he was given so much space to make the shot with nobody closing him down.
The winner was a well-taken penalty after 16-year-old Neco Williams, another standout for the Under-18s this season, had made a rash challenge inside the box.
In truth, United were the better side and probably deserved their win, but Liverpool will be disappointed to have lost it late on.
Liverpool’s best chance of the first half arrived from Ben Woodburn, but the Welshman appeared to limp off with two minutes remaining.
One of the positives for the Reds was the return of centre-back Nat Phillips who has missed the last few months due to a back injury.
Liverpool’s young players are next in action in the UEFA Youth League against Man City on Wednesday in the quarter-final.
Liverpool: Ward, Williams, Phillips, Masterson, Lewis, Christie-Davies, Camacho, Woodburn (Gomes, 88′), Millar, Jones, Dhanda (Adekanye, 72′).
Subs not used: George, Gallacher, Dixon-Bonner, Gomes, Adekanye.