The Liverpool under-19s were forced to wait for a timely result from Fernando Torres’ Atletico Madrid, as they booked their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League.
AC Milan U19s 1-1 Liverpool U19s
UEFA Youth League (6), Vismara Sports Centre
December 7, 2021
Goals: Nasti 78′; Musialowski 4′
Ahead of the first team’s dead-rubber Champions League tie at the San Siro, the young Reds took on their Milan counterparts with a win guaranteeing an already likely place in the last 16.
Milan were unable to progress regardless of the result, and despite Conor Bradley, Tyler Morton and Harvey Davies joining Jurgen Klopp‘s squad and Owen Beck being suspended, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson was able to name a strong side.
Musialowski was dangerous from the off, and it took the young Pole just four minutes to break the deadlock, slamming home a volley from left-back Luke Chambers’ fine cross.
The first half was a largely low-key contest, with Liverpool’s towering trio of Billy Koumetio, Jarell Quansah and Stefan Bajcetic outstanding as they limited efforts on Fabian Mrozek’s goal.
HT: AC Milan U19s 0-1 Liverpool U19s
Liverpool conceded more possession to their hosts at the start of the second half, but stayed in control, with Dominic Corness almost lifting it over Milan goalkeeper Fotis Pseftis from close range in an early chance.
Koumetio went close with a cheeky effort from long-range, while a rare break that saw Pseftis rush out then saw Musialowski clip a 45-yard shot just wide of an open goal.
Another player making his full debut, 17-year-old Isaac Mabaya, showed his power and precision as he drifted in from right-back to midfield and drove the length of the pitch, only to be snuffed out by Pseftis with a pass on either side.
But a long ball from Victor Eletu and brilliant movement from the substitute Marco Nasti earned an equaliser for Milan with just over 10 minutes to play, the forward breaking the lines and finishing well beyond Mrozek.
Soon after, though, Eletu was given a second yellow card for blocking a quick free-kick, which gave Liverpool the numbers advantage for the closing stages, with Bridge-Wilkinson looking to get an edge as Bobby Clark replaced Musialowski.
Milan were able to hold on with 10 men, which left the young Reds waiting for the result from Porto to determine whether they would advance top of Group B or head to the last-16 playoffs in second.
Ultimately, Torres did his former side a favour, as Atletico earned a 2-1 victory in Portugal to jump into second and allow Liverpool to finish as group winners.
The young Reds will now head into the last-16 draw on February 14, joined by the eight sides to advance via the playoffs, which are to be held on February 8/9.
TIA Man of the Match: Billy Koumetio
Liverpool U19s: Mrozek; Mabaya, Quansah, Koumetio, Chambers; Bajcetic, Corness; Frauendorf, Musialowski (Clark 87′), Gordon; Cannonier (Pilling 90+2′)
Subs not used: Hewitson, Miles, Wilson
Next match: Fleetwood (H) – FA Youth Cup – Saturday, December 11, 5.30pm (GMT)