NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's James McConnell walks out with his side out before the UEFA Youth League Group A Matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at Giuseppe Piccolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool U18s beaten as midfielder becomes latest to step up to U21s

It was a tough afternoon for the Liverpool under-18s, with five 16-year-olds starting in a 1-0 loss to Wolves, as three key starters move up an age group.

Wolves U18s 1-0 Liverpool U18s

U18 Premier League, Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground
October 29, 2022

Goals: Voice 4′

With injuries and first-team call-ups impacting Barry Lewtas‘ selection process at under-21s level, a knock-on effect saw Marc Bridge-Wilkinson field a particularly youthful side at Wolves.

That saw almost half of his U18s side having yet to celebrate their 17th birthdays, with centre-back Kerron Samuels, stand-in right-back Francis Gyimah and the front three of Trent Kone-Doherty, Ranel Young and Jayden Danns all still 16.

Midfielder Kyle Kelly came in to make his full debut days after signing his first professional contract, but it was a difficult test for the young Reds in Wolverhampton.

The game was decided by a single goal in the fourth minute, with Wolves centre-back Caden Voice heading home from Josh Esen’s corner before the hosts dug in for the victory.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 17, 2022: Liverpool's Trent Kone-Doherty during the Under-18 Premier League North match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. Man City won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There were chances for Liverpool, of course, with Gyimah hitting the bar and both Kone-Doherty and Tommy Pilling trying their luck from range in the first half.

Danns, the son of former Crystal Palace midfielder and current Liverpool academy coach Neil Danns, arguably came the closest, seeing an effort blocked late on as the game went over 11 minutes into stoppage time.

But it wasn’t to be, and instead the loss will be seen as vital experience for a number of players making their first forays into U18s football.

The headline news may be, however, that midfielder James McConnell has joined forwards Ben Doak and Lewis Koumas in making the step up to the U21s after a bright start to the campaign.

Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Gyimah, Samuels, Hayes-Green, Giblin; Laffey, Pilling, Kelly (Roberts 57′); Young, Kone-Doherty, Danns (Gift 84′)

Subs not used: Hewitson, Pennington, Figueroa

Next match: Napoli (H) – UEFA Youth League – Tuesday, November 1, 2pm (BST)