Joe Hardy brought his goal tally to five in his last three games as the Liverpool under-23s took on Man City, but a late, late strike left the young Reds heartbroken.
Man City U23s 3-2 Liverpool U23s
April 9, 2021
Goals: Robertson 26′, Palmer 43′, Nmecha 89′; Hardy 16′, 46′
It has been a difficult season for Hardy, but the 22-year-old is enjoying a timely resurgence ahead of what is likely to be a decisive summer transfer window.
The striker made his third consecutive start as the U23s visited top-of-the-table City for a Friday night clash, as Barry Lewtas switched to a three-man defence with Conor Bradley and the in-form Owen Beck on either flank.
A one-two with the ex-Brentford man saw Morton prod the ball through for Hardy to fire home, with his predatory finishing an invaluable asset for Liverpool in their late bid to finish runners-up.
The presence of Liam Delap caused the young Reds problems throughout, and before half-time City had turned the score on its head, with goals from Alexander Robertson and Cole Palmer making it 2-1.
Liverpool came out from the break fired up, and excellent work from Ben Woodburn pressed Claudio Gomes into a mistake, leaving it to the captain to square across to Hardy, who steeled himself for another effort beyond Cieran Slicker.
Ojrzynski came to the fore with the scores at 2-2, with the young Pole making a number of strong saves to deny the likes of Palmer and Tommy Doyle, but unfortunately he was unable to hold on as Felix Nmecha sealed a late winner for City.
Though the result is disappointing, it was another productive evening for Lewtas’ side, with young first-team hopefuls Ojrzynski, Bradley, Beck and Morton enhancing their reputations in particular.
For Hardy, it could serve as another shop-window display for the onlooking scouts, with the goalscorer likely to be weighing up a move away from Merseyside in search of senior football next season.
Liverpool U23s: Ojrzynski; Boyes, Clayton, Gallacher; Bradley, Morton (Dixon-Bonner 80′), Clarkson, Beck; Cain; Hardy (O’Rourke 77′), Woodburn (Longstaff 86′)
Subs not used: Hughes, Savage
Next match: Blackburn (A) –