Liverpool’s under-18s cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Newcastle on Saturday, with James Balagizi’s first-half efforts proving decisive.
Liverpool U18s 3-0 Newcastle U18s
U18 Premier League, Kirkby
October 19, 2019
Goals: Balagizi 10′, 26′, Norris 35′
Barry Lewtas’ side were back in action following the international break, with their eyes firmly on reducing the gap to league-leaders Man City to just two points.
The young Reds headed into the contest off the back of three successive league victories but were without Fidel O’Rourke due to injury, while Leighton Clarkson was drafted into the under-23s ahead of their meeting with Wolves on Sunday.
The duo’s absence paved the way for Jake Cain to be deployed at No. 6 while Tom Hill and James Balagizi were in the mix from the off, where the latter ensured Liverpool were quickly on the scoresheet in what proved to be a dominant performance from the Reds.
With just ten minutes on the clock, Balagizi reacted the quickest to finish from close range after finding himself on the end of Billy Koumetio’s headed effort from a corner delivery.
And both Balagizi’s and Liverpool’s joy was soon doubled when he found himself on the end of another tap-in after Layton Stewart unselfishly fed him the ball following a sublime piece of pressure on the right flank whereby he pickpocketed the defender.
It was a move synonymous of the young Reds’ appetite for the fixture, with the constant desire to track back and win possession the hallmark of a first period which was equally as entertaining through some free-flowing attacking play.
And after a plethora of chances to further extend the lead, primarily through Stewart, James Norris rose the highest to meet Balagizi’s delivery at the back post, with his looped header creating a comfortable three-goal buffer at the break.
Lewtas’ side were equally as threatening in the second 45 but were unable to land another blow on the scoreboard despite the best efforts of Stewart, Hill and Co, with the Magpies’ stopper Will Brown denying the young Reds with a number of notable saves.
Newcastle had few answers for Liverpool’s domination throughout, rarely able to venture out of their own defensive half until late in the piece – and when given a slight glimpse at goal both Remi Savage and Koumetio – and the post – were on hand at the back to keep the visitors at bay.
In the end, it proved to be a straightforward affair for the Reds, with Jakub Ojrzynski providing a commanding presence in between the sticks where the majority of his outfield counterparts also took the chance to impress.
TIA Man of the Match: James Balagizi
Liverpool U18s: Ojrzynski; Walls (Bradley 75′), Savage, Koumetio, Beck; Cain; Brookwell, Hill, Norris (Corness 84′); Stewart, Balagizi (Morton 64′)
Subs not used: Davies, Quansah