Liverpool U18s vs. Sunderland U18s
U18 Premier League, Kirkby
January 11, 2019
Goals: Longstaff 63′
Fresh off the back of their success in the Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup in Germany, the U18s were back in domestic action as they hosted Sunderland at Kirkby.
Six of those to feature in that tournament were named in Barry Lewtas‘ starting lineup, with Vitezslav Jaros, Jack Walls, Remi Savage, Jake Cain, Abdi Sharif and Fidel O’Rourke included in a side with five changes from the 3-2 win over Portsmouth last time out.
One of those to drop out was Bobby Duncan, who made his first start for the U23s in their return to action after a brief winter break on Monday, with the 17-year-old potentially making the permanent move up.
His strike partner Paul Glatzel remained, however, wearing the captain’s armband in a one-sided clash to begin 2019 in the league.
The first half saw the young Reds frustrated despite their dominance, with Rhys Williams firing wide and Black Cats goalkeeper Anthony Patterson denying Glatzel and Longstaff as he kept his hands warm.
After the break, Sunderland‘s deep-sitting defence kept up their resolute approach, with Liverpool looking to pick locks and further test the ‘keeper.
The eventual goal came via a moment of magic from Longstaff, who fired a brilliant effort beyond Patterson for only his second of the season—in 20 games in all competitions, although seven of those came as a substitute.
With Sunderland not having won since the end of August, losing six and drawing 10 since then, Mark Atkinson’s side didn’t change their stance despite the young Reds going ahead, and this played into the hosts’ hands.
Substitute Jack Bearne, benefiting from Duncan’s absence, came closest to adding a second, but full-time came with Liverpool winning 1-0, having 10 shots on goal to the visitors’ zero.
TIA Man of the Match: Luis Longstaff
Liverpool U18s: Jaros; Walls, R.Williams, Savage, Larouci; Clarkson (Dixon-Bonner 66′); Sharif, Cain, Longstaff (Ritaccio 86′); Glatzel, O’Rourke (Bearne 77′)
Subs not used: B.Williams, Brookwell
Next Match: Accrington Stanley (H) – FA Youth Cup – Monday, January 21, 7pm (GMT)