Arthur starts and Ben Doak shines with 5-goal contribution in U21s rout

Arthur made his first competitive start since September as Liverpool under-21s won 7-1 against Leicester, but it was the Ben Doak show having had a hand in five goals.

Liverpool U21s 7-1 Leicester U21s

Premier League 2, AXA Training Centre
February 25, 2023

Goals: Clark 4′, Doak 41′, 54′, Odunze OG 45+3′, Koumetio 71′, Woltman 78′, Stewart 89′; Pennant 8′

For the third game this season and the first time since September, Arthur utilised youth football to get back up to speed having now recovered from a long-term injury.

The Brazilian has been training with the first team since February 9 and this was his first matchday squad appearance, at all levels, since October, playing the full 90 minutes at Kirkby.

The 26-year-old was not the only Red making his long-awaited return to action, with goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga, who remains on loan at Macclesfield, back from injury after three months out.

The Reds, boasting a handful of youngsters with senior experience, got off to the perfect start with the impressive Doak supplying the cross for Bobby Clark to finish in the fourth minute.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 3, 2022: Liverpool's Bobby Clarke celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester United FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

But the understandably rusty hands of Pitaluga swiftly enabled Leicester to equalise, with Kian Pennant capitalising on the spilt ball, converting from close range.

Liverpool didn’t relinquish control though, if anything they burst into life as just before the break, Doak struck twice in quick succession.

First, heading home from Dominic Corness’ corner before a powerful run down the right flank ended with a shot hitting the upright and bouncing in off the Leicester goalkeeper’s head – unfortunately meaning it’s considered an own goal.

HT: Liverpool U21s 3-1 Leicester U21s

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 19, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-21's and Chelsea FC Under-21's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A role in all three first-half goals, Doak wanted more at the start of the second.

And that’s what he got after manoeuvring himself to the back post, a perfect position to convert Harvey Blair’s cross for his brace and 4-1 in the 54th minute.

Barry Lewtas‘ side were not done there, with Billy Koumetio converting the fifth goal of the afternoon from another Corness corner and Max Woltman adding the sixth – Doak, of course, credited with the assist.

Layton Stewart made it seven to round off the thumping victory, the perfect return to action off the bench after another injury layoff.

After 18 games in Premier League 2, Liverpool are third, nine points behind leaders Man City.

Liverpool: Pitaluga; Stephenson, Jonas, Koumetio, Beck; Corness, Arthur, Clark; Doak (Frauendorf 84′), Musialowski (Woltman 65′), Blair (Stewart 65′)

Substitutes: Kelly, Miles

Next match: Arsenal (A) – Premier League 2 – Monday, March 6, 7pm (GMT)