DERBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 19, 2022: Liverpool's Oakley Cannonier looks dejected after his shot was saved during the Under-18 Premier League match between Derby County FC Under-18's and Liverpool FC Under-18's at Moor Farm Training Centre. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool U18s suffer big title blow as Man City take advantage

Liverpool under-18s saw their title hopes fade with a 3-1 loss at Man City, with the young Reds unable to replicate the fortunes of the first team.

Man City U18s 3-1 Liverpool U18s

U18 Premier League, Academy Stadium
April 14, 2022

Goals: Dickson 5′, Breckin 68′, Ogwuru 85′; Clark 41′

With an opportunity to close the gap at the top of the table to four points with a game in hand still to play, the young Reds arrived in Manchester bolstered by some big names.

Mateusz Musialowski made another start after shining in the 10-3 thrashing of Leeds, while James Balagizi dropped down from the under-23s to take on his old club.

It was a slow start for Liverpool, though, and City took advantage as Scouse striker Will Dickson broke the deadlock after just five minutes.

The chances continued to come for the hosts while the young Reds were toothless for long periods, only for a breakthrough to come as half-time drew near.

Balagizi claimed the assist in an otherwise poor first half, lofting a ball over the defence for Bobby Clark to race on to, the 17-year-old heading it down on the run and sending it home.

HT: Man City U18s 1-1 Liverpool U18s

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 15, 2022: Liverpool's Bobby Clark during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool were drastically improved after the break, and arguably should have had a penalty with their third shout of the game, but the referee waved away Oakley Cannonier’s appeal after being brought down.

Cannonier was down again later in the half, but this time it was frustration for the striker as he lost his footing under pressure following a brilliant through ball from Clark.

The striker then fired just over the bar after a schoolboy error from City goalkeeper Josh McNamara, squaring the ball across the face of goal, with the chances building for Liverpool.

But City went in front soon after, Kian Breckin hammering in at the second time of asking after a strong save from Luke Hewitson.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 19, 2021: Liverpool's Mateusz Musialowski during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and Leeds United AFC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. Leeds United won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It never happened for Musialowski, who was replaced by the returning Melkamu Frauendorf with 15 minutes to play – but it was a City substitute, Daniel Ogwuru, who sealed the result with a late finish.

The title race is not yet over, with Liverpool still to play five more games, but it is certainly a setback that will be hard to overcome.

TIA Man of the Match: Bobby Clark

Liverpool U18s: Hewitson; Osbourne, Jonas, Chambers, Scanlon; Stephenson, Pilling, Balagizi (McConnell 90′); Musialowski (Frauendorf 76′), Clark, Cannonier

Subs not used: Mrozek, Gyimah, Koumas

Next match: Wolves (A) – U18 Premier League – Tuesday, April 19, 2pm (BST)