The Liverpool under-23s were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton on Saturday afternoon, with the absence of two players giving a hint at Jurgen Klopp‘s squad vs. Brentford.
Liverpool U23s 1-1 Everton U23s
Premier League 2, Kirkby
January 15, 2022
Goals: Bearne 61′; Cannon 83′
After the under-18s’ disappointing 1-0 loss to Man City, the second academy game of the weekend kicked off at Kirkby, with a strong U23s side taking to the field.
Conor Bradley, Owen Beck, Leighton Clarkson and Elijah Dixon-Bonner were among the starters, along with goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga, who received emphatic praise from Klopp in his pre-Brentford press conference.
It was a largely attritional derby, with Everton sitting deep and Liverpool working to break them down, and the opener came after an hour of football at Kirkby.
The scorer was 20-year-old forward Jack Bearne, who made up for wasting an earlier chance by converting Owen Beck‘s low cross – the left-back serving as provider for the second game running.
Dixon-Bonner was lively throughout and had a number of efforts, while Clarkson – back, at least briefly, from his time out on loan – went close with a free-kick.
But Everton ensured a point each as Tom Cannon surged onto a pass and finished beyond Pitaluga, clinching a 1-1 draw in the derby.
While it was a disappointing result for the U23s, there was intrigue on the touchline as both Kaide Gordon and Tyler Morton watched their team-mates in action.
Gordon had already taken in the U18s game alongside Layton Stewart hours previous, and his absence from Barry Lewtas‘ squad suggests he and Morton will be involved in the Premier League on Sunday.
There is even a chance that Gordon starts against Brentford, though it seems unlikely Klopp will gamble if the likes of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Curtis Jones are available.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga; Bradley, Clayton, Koumetio, Beck; Clarkson, Dixon-Bonner, Norris; Bearne, Balagizi, Woltman (Musialowski 78′)
Subs not used: Kelly, Quansah, Wilson
Next match: Crystal Palace (A) – Premier League 2 – Monday, January 24, 7pm (GMT)