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Mini-derby victory sends Liverpool U18s back to top of the table

Liverpool’s U18s overcame rivals Everton 1-0 on Saturday morning to go joint-top of the league, with Jack Bearne scoring the winner.

Everton U18s 0-1 Liverpool U18s

U18 Premier League, Finch Farm
March 30, 2019

Goal: Bearne 30′.

Barry Lewtas‘ young charges took on their Merseyside rival counterparts at Finch Farm on Saturday morning, with the two sides having fought out a seven-goal thriller in the season.

Liverpool edged it 4-3 on that occasion on home soil, but there were wet conditions and lineup changes to contend with this time as well as the derby aspect.

With Paul Glatzel out injured and several players having featured with their international sides over the past week, the boss rotated his side for the derby.

The Reds were looking for a win to go joint-top of the table along with Derby County, while conversely, a win for third-place Everton would have seen them leapfrog the Reds.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 18, 2018: Liverpool's manager Barry Lewtas during the UEFA Youth League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Langtree Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Lewtas makes three changes to the lineup
  • Second-choice goalkeeper Dan Atherton starts, Fidel O’Rourke replaces injured Glatzel
  • Larouci tees up Bearne for opening goal
  • Dixon-Bonner, Larouci and Bearne impress
  • Reds hold on for 1-0 win to move joint-top

Atherton didn’t have the best of starts though, with a poor kick-out almost gifting a chance to Everton—but Morgan Boyes made a good recovery tackle, while Jack Bearne had to make a similarly fine challenge to prevent free-scoring Blues striker Ellis Simms going one-on-one with the stand-in ‘keeper.

Yasser Larouci embarked on a winding run down the left, showcasing his dribbling and power in full flight, but the Reds couldn’t create a chance after he won a corner.

In a first 25 minutes devoid of real chances, Elijah Dixon-Bonner strode forward to hammer an effort from range, but it was comfortably dealt with.

Liverpool’s first real moment of quality build-up play led to the opening goal.

Leighton Clarkson fired a pass wide, Larouci controlled and sprinted forward to the byline, pulled the ball back and Bearne finished with a low left-footed shot right on the half-hour mark.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 30, 2019: Liverpool's Jack Bearne celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League Academy match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the Mini-Mini Merseyside Derby, at Finch Farm. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bearne, Dixon-Bonner and Larouci were the stand-outs in the first half for the Reds, with the left-back always available as an outlet.

Bearne showed his energy and quality throughout and the latter midfielder, Dixon-Bonner, was neat in possession, clever at finding space between the lines and looked very confident when moving forward on the ball.

Both teams had one further opportunity before the break, but Simms was quickly closed down by Atherton when through on goal and pushed his shot wide while Bobby Duncan was blocked from close-range.

A good start to the second half saw Liverpool have a succession of half-chances, with Jake Cain wanting a penalty and Duncan having a shot blocked.

Fidel O’Rourke then steered an effort wide with two team-mates free in support, before both teams had players booked within a minute for two wild, missed challenges—Neco Williams into the book for the Reds.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 30, 2019: Liverpool's Neco Williams during the FA Premier League Academy match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the Mini-Mini Merseyside Derby, at Finch Farm. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Everton came more into the game after the hour mark, looking for an equaliser, but Atherton dealt well with the few moments of danger which came his way.

There was definitely a lot more of a derby edge to the game in the second half and the ref let a few questionable fouls go unpunished.

Bearne showed a good moment of skill to curl an effort at goal just into the last 10 minutes, before he was subbed off as part of a double change—he and O’Rourke making way for Luis Longstaff and Abdi Sharif.

Matteo Ritaccio for Clarkson was the final sub in the closing stages, but the Reds largely shut out the Blues in the latter part of the game.

Four minutes of stoppage time didn’t change the scoreline and the Reds moved back to level on points with first-placed Derby County, ahead of their afternoon fixture.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 30, 2019: Liverpool's Yasser Larouci during the FA Premier League Academy match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the Mini-Mini Merseyside Derby, at Finch Farm. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA Man of the Match: Yasser Larouci

Liverpool U18s: Atherton; N Williams, R Williams, Boyes, Larouci; Clarkson (Ritaccio 88′), Dixon-Bonner, Bearne (Sharif 82′), Cain; O’Rourke (Longstaff 82′), Duncan.

Subs not used: Winterbottom, Savage.

Next Match: West Brom (A) – U18 Premier League – Wednesday, March 3, 1pm (BST)

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