KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 6, 2021: Liverpool's Oakley Cannonier (2nd from L) celebrates after scoring the first goal during the U18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Middlesbrough FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool U18s held in 10-goal thriller as ex-Red strikes twice for Man United

Former Liverpool striker Ethan Ennis scored twice on his return to Kirkby, as the under-18s saw a 4-1 lead slip to draw 5-5 with Man United on Saturday.

Liverpool U18s 5-5 Man United U18s

U18 Premier League, Kirkby
March 12, 2022

Goals: Jonas 14′, Blair 33′, Clark 51′ 76′, Cannonier 63′; Ennis 45+2′ 81′, Kambwala 69′, Hugill 70′ 89′

Ennis, who came through the ranks at Liverpool from pre-academy age, turned down a contract offer and joined United in the summer, in a deal that could rise to £1.5 million.

The 17-year-old was back on Merseyside on Saturday, however, as he started for his new club in a high-scoring U18s clash which saw him find the back of the net twice.

Liverpool were 3-0 up before his first, though, with Lee Jonas heading home the opener from returning captain Luca Stephenson’s free-kick, before further goals from Harvey Blair and Bobby Clark.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 29, 2022: Liverpool's Oakley Cannonier celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Chelsea FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. Chelsea won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

United reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time through Ennis, but six minutes after the break, Oakley Cannonier restored a three-goal lead with his 31st goal of the campaign.

A two-minute double from United duo Willy Kambwala and Joe Hugill put the pressure on the young Reds, with manager Marc Bridge-Wilkinson sending defender Wellity Lucky on for Blair in an attempt to hold on for the win.

Clark made it 5-3 soon after that substitution, but Ennis then scored his second and, with a minute left of normal time, Hugill finally grabbed the equaliser for United.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Tuesday, November 9, 2021: Liverpool's Bobby Clark during the English Football League Trophy match between Port Vale FC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Vale Park. Port Vale won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was a frustrating result for Liverpool, given their early dominance, but there were clear positives to take from the draw at Kirkby.

Chiefly, a productive comeback for Stephenson, who lasted an hour and came away with two assists, while the ever-improving Isaac Mabaya also set up two and Clark netted a brace.

But it was the goalscoring return of Ennis that caught the eye, the teenager eager to make his impression and vindicate his decision to leave.

Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Mabaya, Miles, Jonas, Scanlon; Stephenson (Davidson 61′), Pilling, McConnell; Blair (Lucky 71′), Clark, Cannonier

Subs not used: Hewitson, Lucky, Giblin, Pennington

Next match: Juventus (A) – UEFA Youth League – Tuesday, March 15, 3pm (GMT)