The Liverpool under-23s booked their place in the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup on Monday, with a comfortable 4-1 win over Championship side Blackpool.
Liverpool U23s 4-1 Blackpool
Lancashire Senior Cup Semi-Final, Kirkby
April 11, 2022
Goals: Bearne 9′, Quansah 23′, Morton 33′, Clarkson 88′; Yates 58′
After a comprehensive win over Preston in their quarter-final, the young Reds went into the semi-finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup against a familiar opponent.
Blackpool brought their senior side to Kirkby, including ex-Liverpool academy midfielder Matty Virtue, with Neil Critchley watching on as a number of his fringe figures looked to stake their claim.
It was Liverpool who stamped their authority from the off, though, and it took just nine minutes for Jack Bearne to break the deadlock, finishing low after a smart move.
Leighton Clarkson, who spent the first half of the season on loan with Blackpool’s Lancashire rivals Blackburn, was a threat throughout, and the midfielder laid on the second as Jarell Quansah powered in a header from a corner.
A first goal of the season from Tyler Morton made it 3-0 in the 33rd minute, the midfielder rifling in a beautiful effort from the edge of the box.
Brilliant work from Morton led to a big chance for Bearne at a tight angle, but the 20-year-old was unable to beat the goalkeeper, who then denied Quansah from another Clarkson corner.
HT: Liverpool U23s 3-0 Blackpool
With the heavy winds favouring Blackpool in the second half, Liverpool were forced to sit back and defend more frequently, with Marcelo Pitaluga‘s resolve to be tested.
The lines were broken just before the hour, and the experienced striker Jerry Yates grabbed one back for Blackpool after a searching ball from winger Owen Dale.
Liverpool lost their fluency as they struggled to keep the ball down, but a header from Rhys Williams served as a reminder, while Clarkson kept up his exhibition in midfield.
The introduction of a battling James Norris following injury to Max Woltman gave Liverpool a different threat on the left flank, and a driving run almost saw James Balagizi find Bearne for a tap-in.
But immediately after, Clarkson grabbed a deserved goal, with a low, first-time finish on the rebound capping a Man of the Match display and sealing a cup final for Liverpool.
That will be against either Accrington Stanley or Burnley, as the young Reds look to repeat their Lancashire Senior Cup success of 2017.
TIA Man of the Match: Leighton Clarkson
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga; Bradley (Wilson 88′), Williams, Quansah, Beck; Corness (Clayton 82′), Clarkson, Morton; Bearne, Woltman (Norris 68′), Balagizi
Subs not used: Kelly