Billy Koumetio played 45 minutes with a view to playing a part against Midtjylland as the Liverpool U18s fell to a late 4-3 defeat in a rollercoaster derby at Man United.
Man United U18s 4-3 Liverpool U18s
U18 Premier League, Carrington
December 5, 2020
Goals: Wellens 7′, McNeil 42′, Hugill 79′ 84′; Stewart 59′ 73′, Morton 64′
Heading into the tie top of the table, Liverpool started strongly at Carrington, but an emphasis on the attacking runs of right-back Sean Wilson allowed United in for an opener within seven minutes, as Noam Emeran teed up Charlie Wellens.
The young Reds continued to press and pass with precision, and almost levelled soon after as, following a foul on Tyler Morton, midfielder Dominic Corness stepped up and hammered a free-kick against the post.
A lively Max Woltman almost made it 1-1 on the half-hour after some brilliant work from Melkamu Frauendorf, sniffing out a loose ball and, playing the advantage, firing hard at the palms of Radek Vitek, before the rebound was cleared.
James Balagizi was one of Liverpool’s brightest players throughout the first half, and the ex-Man City midfielder had a big chance against a career-long rival as he cut onto his right inside the penalty area, but he was unable to hit the target.
Only some excellent last-ditch defending denied Woltman as half-time neared, and heading up the other end United made it 2-0 as Charlie McNeil finished well following a counter.
Man United U18s 2-0 Liverpool U18s
A planned substitution – likely with the Champions League clash with Midtjylland in mind – saw Koumetio brought off at the break, with Mateusz Musialowski coming on and Wilson and Frauendorf moving to centre-back and right-back respectively.
The tide turned due to the tactical intervention of manager Marc-Bridge Wilkinson and academy director Alex Inglethorpe, with the young Reds noticeably more front-footed and willing to drive into the box.
Before the hour mark, Layton Stewart had reduced the deficit, taking down Morton’s long ball, holding off the defender and firing home, and five minutes later Morton had levelled the scores, heading in after Vitek spilled from Corness’ whipped corner.
Fine work from Musialowski – showing his quality of late after a struggle with injury – down the left saw the Pole dance into space to fire a low cross into the box, and there was Stewart to convert for his 13th of the season and make it 3-2.
The lead did not last long, though, as a fine save from Jakub Ojrzynski kept out Emeran, only for Joe Hugill to net from the rebound with a strong shout for offside.
It set up a frantic final 10 minutes at Carrington, and unfortunately, the winner came for United, as Hugill fired in on the turn to inflict a big blow to Liverpool.
TIA Man of the Match: Tyler Morton
Liverpool U18s: Ojrzynski; Wilson, Quansah, Koumetio (Musialowski 46′), Norris; Corness, Morton (Stephenson 82′), Balagizi; Frauendorf, Woltman (Blair 82′), Stewart
Subs not used: Mrozek, Cannonier
Next Match: Middlesbrough (A) – U18 Premier League – Saturday, December 12, 1pm (GMT)