Bobby Clark followed up his day training with the first team as he scored an excellent free-kick for the Liverpool under-18s, but it came in a heavy defeat to Blackburn.
Liverpool U18s 1-3 Blackburn U18s
U18 Premier League (9), Brockhall Village
November 20, 2021
Goals: Clark 43′; Ngangou 8′, Haddow 12′, Gamble 45+2′
With injuries and international duty impacting the senior squad, Jurgen Klopp called in a number of youngsters for training throughout this week.
That included a spot in the session for 16-year-old midfielder Clark, who along with under-23s centre-back Stefan Bajcetic was among the group to prepare for Saturday’s visit of Arsenal.
Hours before kickoff at Anfield, though, and Clark was back in the starting lineup for the U18s, with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side also restricted by injury.
Luca Stephenson and Harvey Blair were among those unavailable while Bajcetic moved up an age group, leaving a clutch of under-16s players to take up places in the starting lineup and the bench.
January signing Calum Scanlon, a 16-year-old left-sider, made his full debut, while Isaac Mabaya made only his third start of the campaign in midfield.
Up against top-of-the-table Blackburn, though, it was a tough morning for the young Reds, with goals from Junior Ngangou and George Chmiel putting Rovers 2-0 up within the first 12 minutes.
The hosts remained dominant throughout the half, but Clark showed signs of promise as he fired over the bar after great work from Melkamu Frauendorf.
Clark was then able to reduce the deficit as, after Mabaya was infringed upon while charging into the box, he stepped up and bent a brilliant low free-kick into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
It was the midfielder’s third goal of the season after eight games, having joined from Newcastle in a £1.5 million deal in August.
Centre-back Patrick Gamble, formerly of Liverpool, then made it 3-1 to Blackburn before the break, with the young Reds unable to fight back into the game in the second half.
Bridge-Wilkinson will have taken the disappointment with a measure of realism, having given two further debuts from the bench for Nathan Giblin and Louie Koumas, but it was a frustrating result nonetheless.
Liverpool U18s: Davies; Davidson, Lucky (Laffey 60′), Miles, Chambers; Mabaya, Frauendorf, Clark; Pilling (Koumas 90+4′), Scanlon (Giblin 87′), Cannonier
Subs not used: Mrozek, Danns
Next match: Porto (H) – UEFA Youth League – Wednesday, November 24, 1pm (GMT)