WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, December 21, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Caoimhin Kelleher returns but Liverpool U23s taught lesson by experienced Chelsea

A starlet-studded Liverpool under-23s side were humbled at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, as Michy Batshuayi’s double helped Chelsea to a 3-0 victory.

Chelsea U23s 3-0 Liverpool U23s

Premier League 2, Stamford Bridge
August 19, 2019

Goals: Batshuayi 40′, 47′, Anjorin 75′

The young Reds emerged from the tunnel at Stamford Bridge with a very strong lineup, as Caoimhin Kelleher and Sepp van den Berg both returned after fitness issues.

Pre-season first-team regulars Ki-Jana Hoever, Yasser Larouci, Adam Lewis, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Rhian Brewster all started, along with Herbie Kane despite speculation over a loan move.

Among the opposition were Batshuayi and Antonio Rudiger, promising a tough challenge for Neil Critchley‘s side at both ends of the pitch.

Chelsea enjoyed the best of the early stages, with Kelleher forced into a sharp save to his right after both Larouci and Morgan Boyes were sold on the turn, while the young Reds’ attempts to play it out from the back invited more pressure.

The Blues’ two senior players created the opener as Liverpool’s two back from injury flapped, with Rudiger’s long ball evading a hapless Van den Berg in the air and, after Kelleher wiped him out outside the box, Batshuayi chipped in for 1-0.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 10, 2019: Liverpool's Curtis Jones looks dejected as they kick off after Tottenham Hotspur's fourth goal during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at the Academy. Tottenham Hotspur won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool were another goal behind two minutes after the break, with Faustino Anjorin fed down the left to tee Batshuayi up to hammer home, with Boyes not close enough to thwart him.

The young Reds began to create opportunities after going two behind, but too often were lacking the final pass, with Jones particularly frustrating as he wasted promising openings.

Kelleher denied Batshuayi a hat-trick on 55 minutes with a clever block with his feet, and soon after Critchley made three changes as Neco Williams, Tony Gallacher and Bobby Duncan replaced Hoever, Larouci and Brewster.

Chelsea‘s third came through some more wastefulness from Jones, who lost the ball near the halfway line after dithering in possession, and Anjorin cut inside to fire past a furious Kelleher.

The game ended at 3-0, with Dixon-Bonner arguably going closest with a weak effort from range, as the U23s were humbled on the road for their second defeat in two league games.

TIA Man of the Match: Yasser Larouci

Liverpool U23s: Kelleher; Hoever (N.Williams 63′), Van den Berg, Boyes, Larouci (Gallacher 63′); Dixon-Bonner, Kane, Lewis; Elliott, Jones, Brewster (Duncan 63′)

Subs not used: Atherton, Clayton

Next Match: Southampton (A) – Premier League 2 – Monday, August 26, 7pm (BST)