LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, August 17, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Kamil Grabara during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Meadow Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool U23s’ woes continue despite Kamil Grabara penalty heroics

Liverpool U23s slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers U23s on Monday, as the Reds’ poor form shows few signs of abating in Premier League 2.

Blackburn Rovers U23s 2-1 Liverpool U23s

Premier League 2, the County Ground
October 29, 2018

Goals: Virtue (62′); Davenport (5′), Evans (17′)

Sent-off: Evans (85′)

Neil Critchley‘s side have not been firing on all cylinders so far this season, with the 3-2 defeat at Derby County last time out another example of a poor day at the office.

The young Reds made the trip to the County Ground at the Lancashire FA’s headquarters to take on a Blackburn side glued to the bottom of Premier League 2 and without a win this season.

Critchley made three changes to the side that lost to Derby, with Caoimhin Kelleher, Isaac Christie-Davies and Ben Woodburn making way for Kamil Grabara, Curtis Jones and the injury-free Bobby Adekanye.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, August 17, 2018: Liverpool's Bobby Adekanye during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Meadow Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Liverpool visit bottom-place Blackburn in Premier League 2
  • Critchley makes three changes; Adekanye back from injury
  • Hosts cruise into early 2-0 lead
  • Captain Virtue pulls a goal back after the break
  • Evans sent-off & Grabara saves Butterworth penalty
  • Reds ninth in the table as poor run continues

Liverpool, sitting ninth and badly in need of a win, started slowly and Grabara made a good stop to keep out an early Joe Grayson free-kick.

The Reds goalkeeper was again in the thick of it soon after, keeping the ball out after it had deflected off Neco Williams six yards out.

Blackburn’s early dominance paid off in just the fifth minute, however, with Jacob Davenport finding the net from distance.

Jack Evans doubled the hosts’ early lead as Liverpool’s woeful start was punished, with some shoddy defending on show.

A weak effort by Pedro Chirivella was all the Reds could muster in the opening 20 minutes, as they desperately searched for a response.

Liam Millar came agonisingly close to getting on the end of a Rafa Camacho shot that flashed across goal, but there was still little happening in an attacking sense.

Millar missed a golden opportunity to reduce the arrears just before half-time, but his miss epitomised Liverpool’s performance. Adam Lewis also curled narrowly wide.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Friday, August 24, 2018: Liverpool's Liam Millar looks dejected as his goal is disallowed during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Captain Matty Virtue just failed to latch onto a clever Chirivella pass as the Reds looked to begin the second-half positively.

Critchley’s youngsters performed better after the interval and Lewis was unlucky to see a stunning free-kick come back off the crossbar.

Their improvement paid off in the 62nd minute, with Virtue heading home from the rebound after Camacho’s initial strike had hit the bar.

Goalscorer Evans was sent-off late in the day for Blackburn, giving the visitors a glimmer of hope, and Lewis hit the post from the subsequent free-kick.

Blackburn just saw the game out, even though Daniel Butterworth’s penalty was saved by Grabara and the goalkeeper himself almost equalised after coming up for a last-gasp set-piece.

Liverpool’s Premier League 2 struggles, however, continue.

TIA Man of the Match: Adam Lewis

Liverpool U23s: Grabara, N. Williams, Johnston, Juanma, Lewis, Chirivella, Virtue, Jones, Camacho, Adekanye, Millar (McAuley 71′).

Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Masterson, Gallacher, Christie-Davies

Next Match: Leicester City (H) – Premier League 2 – Saturday, November 3, 3pm

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