Harvey Blair’s return was one of the main positives as the Liverpool under-18s took on Man City on Saturday, but the afternoon ended in disappointment and a 1-0 loss.
Liverpool U18s 0-1 Man City U18s
U18 Premier League, Kirkby
January 15, 2022
Goals: Barrington 87′
After almost a month away, the young Reds were back in action for an early kickoff at Kirkby, with Kaide Gordon among those watching on as third took on second in the league.
While the quality of both sides ensured few chances as the first half played out, a great move involving Stefan Bajcetic, James McConnell and Josh Davidson led to a shot from Melkamu Frauendorf, touched in by an unfortunately offside Oakley Cannonier.
Isaac Mabaya in midfield and Luke Chambers at centre-back were among the standouts for Liverpool, while the marauding Davidson was arguably Man of the Match at right-back.
Beyond Cannonier’s disallowed goal, the best chance of the first half fell to Bobby Clark, but the winger’s effort was blocked and the two sides went in at 0-0.
After the break, Harvey Davies produced a big save to deny Micah Hamilton, before Mabaya hit the crossbar with a header as Liverpool pushed for an opener.
With the Reds chasing a goal, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson turned to Blair, not involved since the 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Youth League on November 3 due to injury.
Having spent two-and-a-half months out, the 18-year-old – who debuted for the first team in the League Cup earlier this season – looked eager to make an impact, with his first input a powerful run into the penalty area.
Blair almost touched in following a brilliant run from Davidson, only for City substitute Luca Barrington to beat Harvey Davies at the other end soon after.
Tempers flared late on after a nasty tackle from City midfielder Mahamadou Susoho, and Liverpool were left to rue a smash-and-grab defeat at home.
Bridge-Wilkinson will look to keep spirits high after that setback, with an FA Youth Cup fourth-round clash with Burnley to come three days later – which could give Blair his first start back.
TIA Man of the Match: Josh Davidson
Liverpool U18s: Davies; Davidson, Miles, Chambers, Scanlon; Bajcetic, McConnell, Mabaya; Frauendorf, Clark, Cannonier (Blair 69′)
Subs not used: Hewitson, Jonas, Lucky, Figueroa
Next match: Burnley (H) – FA Youth Cup – Tuesday, January 18, 7pm (GMT)