Man City U23s 0-0 Liverpool U23s
Premier League 2, Etihad
March 20, 2022
On Saturday, Luke Hewitson made his under-18s bow in their 1-1 draw with Derby, before warming the bench for 19-year-old Kelly, who made his long-awaited U23s debut against the league leaders.
Kelly has been with Liverpool since under-9s level, but has consistently found himself behind high-profile starters in the battle for the No. 1 shirt.
A clean sheet at the Etihad, however, will no doubt increase his admirers in the academy setup – along with his confidence, after a number of seasons as a training goalkeeper.
The trip to Manchester saw a return to the starting lineup for James Balagizi, while both Conor Bradley and Tyler Morton were given starts as Owen Beck, another on the fringes of the first team, was called up to Jurgen Klopp‘s bench.
It was a close contest between the two modern rivals, with Max Woltman going closest for Liverpool in the first half with a goal ruled out for a tight offside, while Kelly was called into action to make a number of fine saves.
The best chance of the game fell to Reds substitute Dominic Corness, who was unable to hit the target from close range in stoppage time, leaving the two sides to share the points.
“[He] made a couple of good saves. He did unbelievably well, his distribution was excellent and he made good decisions.”
The result does little to impact the Premier League 2 table, though Liverpool are still in with a chance of finishing among the top four as they face Chelsea, Leicester and Man United in the final three games of the league campaign.
Liverpool U23s: Kelly; Bradley (Corness 78′), R.Williams, Koumetio (Quansah 66′), Norris; Clarkson, Clayton, Morton; Bearne, Balagizi (O’Rourke 69′), Woltman
Subs not used: Hewitson, Wilson