Brighton U23s 3-5 Liverpool U23s
Premier League 2, American Express Elite Football Performance Centre
November 22, 2019
Goals: Radulovic 77′, 90+4′, Cashman 87′; Elliott (pen) 8′, Christie-Davies 19′, Longstaff 40′, Jones 48′, 90+3′
Neil Critchley‘s side were back in league action on Friday afternoon, aiming to pick up their fourth win of the campaign and just their second clean sheet across all competitions.
The U23s were without Rhian Brewster for the meeting, with Luis Longstaff and Isaac Christie-Davies leading the line as the young Reds looked to leapfrog their counterparts in the table.
Liverpool entered the clash off the back of two victories on the bounce and again found their stride with little delay as a bout of early pressure reaped its rewards as Harvey Elliott was impeded in the area – to which the 16-year-old duly converted from the spot with eight minutes gone.
And while the Seagulls looked to work their way up the field to test Ben Winterbottom, Christie-Davies was on the end of a sweeping move to finish from close-range, an effort which all but ensured the three points were on their way back to Merseyside.
The goalscorer then turned provider in the 40th minute when his cross was nodded home by fellow forward Luis Longstaff.
It meant a comfortable three goal buffer was established prior to the break, where the experienced duo of Pedro Chirivella and Curtis Jones were prominent figures as Liverpool controlled proceedings both on and off the ball.
A quick start to the second 45 saw Jones land himself on the scoresheet just three minutes after the restart as he latched on to Christie-Davies’ defence-splitting pass, and with space in abundance, he steered his effort to the left of the onrushing ‘keeper.
The lead, however, did see the Reds pull their foot off the accelerator slightly and it came at the price of yet another clean sheet as Brighton‘s Bojan Radulovic pulled one back from close range.
As Critchley turned to a trio of teenagers from the bench, the home side would again break Liverpool’s defensive lines as Sepp Van den Berg was easily overpowered and dispossessed on the edge of the area to see Danny Cashman capitalise.
And while it appeared as though the game would peter out, both sides received a second wind.
Jones would add his second of the afternoon as the Reds raced up the field in stoppage time, and while his first effort block he was rewarded for his persistence with a tight-angle finish, where the Seagulls would then add one of their own in the dying stages to see the game end 5-3 in favour of the Reds.
The three points ensure Liverpool move to fifth in the table, but there will no doubt be lingering disappointment for Critchley and Co. as their dominance failed to be reflected on the scoreboard.
Liverpool U23s: Winterbottom; Gallacher, Clayton, Van den Berg, Larouci; Chirivella, Dixon-Bonner (Kane 74′), Elliott, Jones; Longstaff (Varesanovic 85′), Christie-Davies (Clarkson 81′)
Next Match: Huddersfield Town (A) – Premier League Cup – Monday, Dec 2, 7pm (GMT)