Rhian Brewster scored two and assisted one as the Liverpool under-23s scraped through to a 4-3 victory over Wolves, enduring a fightback from the visitors.
Liverpool U23s 4-3 Wolves U23s
Premier League 2, Kirkby
October 20, 2019
Goals: Brewster 18′, 67′, Kane 45+1′, Sanderson OG 74′; Ashley-Seal pen 45′, 76′, Hanne 89′
Neil Critchley was without the suspended Harvey Elliott, but could recall Pedro Chirivella after the Spaniard’s spell out due to the investigation into his eligibility, while the likes of Sepp van den Berg and Curtis Jones also started.
Brewster had the ball in the goal within minutes of kickoff, only to be ruled out for a foul on Wolves ‘keeper Andreas Sondergaard, but soon after the quarter-hour mark he grabbed his opener.
It came through excellent work from Jones on the left, which became a theme throughout the first half as the captain provided a threat every time he picked up the ball in attack, with Herbie Kane and Elijah Dixon-Bonner overlapping in support.
At the other end Ben Winterbottom made a brilliant save to keep Liverpool ahead after a Van den Berg error, but could do nothing to stop Benny Ashley-Seal, who converted a penalty following Morgan Boyes’ foul.
A 1-1 draw at the break would have been an injustice given the young Reds’ dominance, and fortunately, a long ball from Chirivella from the restart allowed Brewster to chest down and Kane to hammer home for 2-1.
Brewster was tasked with operating as a target man for much of the clash, with the hotly tipped 19-year-old showcasing his developing game as he challenged for, and won, a number of long balls from Winterbottom.
The second half proved difficult for Liverpool early on, though, as they were unable to find the openings required despite more good work from the likes of Kane and Jones.
Critchley was the first to turn to his substitutes’ bench, and it gave Leighton Clarkson his U23s debut—a day after the midfielder’s 18th birthday.
Clarkson was involved in both of the hosts’ next two goals, combining with Luis Longstaff before the winger’s cross was headed home by Brewster, before a header of the teenager’s own was diverted past Sondergaard by Wolves’ Dion Sanderson.
Liverpool were forced to weather a late resurgence from the visitors, as Ashley-Seal scored another and Boubacar Hanne made it 4-3 in the 89th minute, but they were able to hold on for three points.
TIA Man of the Match: Rhian Brewster
Liverpool U23s: Winterbottom; N.Williams, Van den Berg, Boyes, Larouci (Gallacher 75′); Chirivella, Dixon-Bonner (Clarkson 61′), Kane; Longstaff, Jones, Brewster
Subs not used: Atherton, Clayton, Coyle
Next Match: Blackburn (H) – Premier League 2 – Saturday, October 26, 3pm (BST)