Liverpool under-18s fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Man City on Saturday and are now sweating over the fitness of two players ahead of their midweek European fixture.
Man City U18s 4-1 Liverpool U18s
U18 Premier League, Academy Stadium
February 25, 2023
Goals: Oboavwoduo 2′, 90+3′, Harrison 31′, Ogwuru 73′; McConnell 55′
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson made four changes to the side that clinched a late point against Derby last time out, with James McConnell making his competitive return.
Prolific goalscorer Lewis Koumas has recovered from a long-term injury but the Reds are keeping him on ice for the UEFA Youth League last 16 clash against Porto on Wednesday.
Without a league win since October, eight games, the under-18s had a tough task against back-to-back champions Man City, who came into the match sitting top of the table, with Liverpool 22 points behind in ninth.
The dominance in the table transferred onto the pitch, with the young Reds following in the first team’s fragile footsteps by conceding first.
City found themselves behind Liverpool’s backline and a ball across the box was missed by defender Josh Davidson, and Justin Oboavwoduo had time and space to finish with aplomb in the second minute.
Liverpool struggled to get out of their own half and City’s pressure was made to count when Alfie Harrison made it 2-0 to the hosts.
Ranel Young was Liverpool’s brightest spark, running at the City defence and there was an argument he ought to have been awarded a penalty after being brought down in the box.
HT: Man City U18s 2-0 Liverpool U18s
A knock from the abovementioned challenge forced Young off at half-time, with 16-year-old Elijah Gift taking his place in the forward line.
The Reds, with renewed energy, pegged a goal back thanks to McConnell, who made an interception in the final third, played a one-two with Trent Kone-Doherty and finished across the ‘keeper.
Liverpool chased an equaliser and offered more of a consistent threat, but City were clinical where the Reds were not.
A breakaway goal from Daniel Ogwuru put the game beyond Bridge-Wilkinson’s side and Oboavwoduo’s second at the death ensured it was a 4-1 defeat for the young Reds.
Following Young’s departure, Kone-Doherty was forced off the field with a knock after first attempting to carry on to add to Liverpool’s injury woes this season.
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Davidson, Hayes-Green, Osborne, Giblin; Pilling, Laffey, McConnell (Kelly 63′); Kone-Doherty (Roberts 87′), Young (Gift 46′), Danns
Subs not used: Hewitson, Pitt
Next match: Porto (H) – UEFA Youth League – Wednesday, March 1, 5.30pm (GMT)