Kaide Gordon opened his account and James Balagizi set up two as the Liverpool under-18s fought for a 4-1 victory over Wolves on Tuesday afternoon.
Liverpool U18s 4-1 Wolves U18s
April 6, 2021
Goals: Woltman 45′ 81′, Gordon 75′ pen 90+2′
Three days after their dogged victory over Man United in the FA Youth Cup, the U18s were back in league action as they welcomed Wolves to Kirkby, with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson making five changes to his side from the weekend.
Among those to come in were full-back pair Luke Chambers and Sean Wilson, and their driving runs down the flanks were a key feature throughout the first half as Max Woltman threatened up front.
Twice Woltman went close in the opening half-hour, first thwarted by an excellent stop from Wolves goalkeeper Palmi Rafn Arinbjornsson and then heading over from the edge of the six-yard box.
In support of the No. 9 was a three-man unit of Gordon, Balagizi and Mateusz Musialowski, giving the young Reds a real edge in the final third as they pinned their visitors back.
Woltman continued to trouble the Wolves defence, and after a series of half-chances the opportunity fell to him through the pressing of Dominic Corness, and he gleefully fired home on the cusp of half-time.
HT: Liverpool U18s 1-0 Wolves U18s
There was a change at the break as Jarell Quansah replaced Billy Koumetio, and there was a clear shift in momentum as Wolves took control from kickoff and equalised through substitute Owen Farmer.
It came from a mistake from Corness, and with Farmer levelling the scores the young Reds continued to struggle with sloppy play as they were forced back.
Liverpool faced up to a test of their resolve, with the likes of Musialowski and Gordon required to put a shift in defensively while Woltman toiled on his own up front.
Against the run of play, though, the young Reds went back ahead, with the strength and quick feet of Balagizi crafting the space for Gordon, who powered through Arinbjornsson with his first goal for Liverpool.
That took the wind out of Wolves’ sails, and excellent work from Balagizi, pressing and laying it off, doubled the young Reds’ lead, teeing up Woltman for his second of the afternoon.
There was more to come, still, and the majesty of Gordon, evading a challenge with a flick and then surging into the box to win a penalty, rubber-stamped the win – with the 16-year-old denying Woltman a hat-trick but sealing a brace of his own as he stepped up to convert.
TIA Man of the Match: James Balagizi
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Wilson, Jonas, Koumetio (Quansah 46′), Chambers; Stephenson, Corness; Gordon, Musialowski (McConnell 86′), Gordon; Woltman
Subs not used: Kelly, Bajcetic, Scanlon
Next match: Leeds (A) – U18