A day after nine academy graduates helped Liverpool to FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury, four of those in that squad were part of the under-23s’ 1-0 win at Derby.
Derby U23s 0-1 Liverpool U23s
Premier League 2, Loughborough Uni
January 10, 2022
Goal: Cashin 72′
With a series of false-positive COVID-19 tests restricting Jurgen Klopp team selection for the third-round tie at Anfield, the manager turned to youth to flesh out his squad.
James Norris and Melkamu Frauendorf both made their senior debuts off the bench, and the next day, the pair were part of an exciting U23s side to travel to Loughborough to face Derby.
The young Reds’ high press engineered a number of chances early on, with Norris and Clarkson both finding openings, while Frauendorf’s header was cleared off the line.
But the two sides went into the break level and the second half saw fewer opportunities crafted, though Clarkson and Mabaya both had promising efforts.
However, the impressive Owen Beck, driving down the left flank, produced the moment that mattered, his low cross towards the six-yard area diverted into the net by Derby defender Eiran Cashin.
It was a deserved goal for Liverpool, and they almost got another late on as Stefan Bajcetic sent one just off target from range.
The final whistle blew to hand Barry Lewtas‘ side the three points, ahead of a bright second half of the season that could see many players make the step up from the under-18s on a full-time basis.
That includes Mabaya and Frauendorf, along with 16-year-old Bobby Clark and versatile 17-year-old Luke Chambers, who both came off the bench late on.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga; Mabaya, Clayton, Koumetio, Beck; Bajcetic, Clarkson (Chambers 83′), Norris; Balagizi, Frauendorf (Clark 87′), Bearne
Subs not used: Kelly, Wilson, Cannonier