Liverpool’s U23s drew 1-1 at home to Brighton U23s in the Premier League 2 on Monday night, with Ki-Jana Hoever receiving a harsh red card.
Liverpool U23s 1-1 Brighton U23s
Premier League 2, Kirkby
January 14, 2019
Goals: Camacho 12′, Roberts 86′
Sent-off: Hoever 21′
The Reds hosted the Seagulls knowing that victory would put them level with their opponents and potentially just two points adrift of leaders Everton, who were hosting Chelsea.
Neil Critchley made six changes to the team that drew 1-1 away to Tottenham last Monday, with the exciting Hoever featuring at centre-back.
There were also starts for Caoimhin Kelleher, Isaac Christie-Davies, Curtis Jones and Rafa Camacho, all of whom were in the matchday squad for the senior side against Wolves in the FA Cup last week.
Paul Glatzel earned a place on the substitutes’ bench, but strike partner Bobby Duncan was not in the squad.
- Critchley’s youngsters host third-place Brighton
- Six changes in total; starts for Hoever & Camacho
- Camacho opens the scoring with excellent finish
- Hoever sent-off after 21 minutes in unfair circumstances
- Roberts heads home late equaliser to earn a point
- Premier League 2 leaders Everton go seven points clear of Liverpool
Jones had the first attempt on target, but the midfielder’s attempted curler was tipped over the bar by Hugo Keto.
Brighton threatened at the other end, but Kelleher displayed his calmness to prevent an opener for the visitors.
Camacho fired Liverpool in front in the 12th minute, profiting from some slack defending by the Seagulls before finding the bottom corner.
It was his ninth goal of an increasingly productive season, with the Portuguese youth international playing on the right side of a front three, rather than at full-back where he debuted for the senior side.
Aaron Connolly just missed the target as Brighton looked for an immediate response, in what was a lively encounter at Liverpool’s academy.
Hoever was sent-off in ridiculously unfair fashion midway through the first half, when a yellow card would even have been harsh for bringing down Connolly.
The 16-year-old was clearly upset about the decision, and rightly so.
Hoever’s dismissal clearly affected the Reds’ momentum, although Pedro Chirivella did test Keto with a well-struck effort.
Kelleher got away with a clearance being charged down and then got down well to keep out Max Sanders, while Chirivella and Camacho both curled wide.
It was a half full of entertainment and controversy.
Substitute Viktor Gyokeres fired just wide straight after the restart and Camacho rattled the woodwork with a deflected strike from a tight angle.
Liam Millar couldn’t quite pounce on a lovely cross by Adam Lewis, as the 10-man Reds continued to give a good account of themselves.
The excellent Jones, playing from the left, was thwarted by Keto after a silky run and Warren O’Hora saw his strike fly inches over the crossbar for Brighton.
Haydn Roberts broke Liverpool hearts with just four minutes remaining, heading home unmarked to earn his side a point.
It was a result influenced hugely by Hoever’s red card, as the Reds fell seven points behind Everton, who beat Chelsea 2-0.
Liverpool U23s now sit in fifth place in the Premier League 2.
TIA Man of the Match: Curtis Jones
Liverpool U23s: Kelleher, Whelan, Hoever, Johnston, Lewis, Chirivella, Randall (Masterson 59′), Christie-Davies, Camacho, Jones, Millar.
Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle, Juanma, Coyle, Glatzel.
Next Match: West Brom (H) – Premier League Cup – Sunday, January 20, 1pm (GMT)