After a seven-goal tournament with the United States under-17s, teenager Keyrol Figueroa found the back of the net on his Liverpool under-18s return.
Nottingham Forest U18s 2-2 Liverpool U18s
U18 Premier League, Forest Academy
March 4, 2023
Goals: Gardner 38′, Sinclair 48′; McConnell 6′, Figueroa 66′
After the drama of the UEFA Youth League victory over Porto three days previous, it was all change for the young Reds as a very youthful side lined up in the league.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson fielded four 16-year-olds away to Forest, with Figueroa – fresh from scoring seven in seven for the US at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship – one of those, making his first start of the season up front.
It was a bright start from Liverpool, too, with captain James McConnell finding the back of the net after just six minutes.
But Forest were on top for much of the first half, with Fabian Mrozek needed on a number of occasions before his goal was eventually breached by Joe Gardner.
The hosts made it 2-1 not long after the break, as right-back Jimmy Sinclair broke the lines and fired beyond Mrozek, who got a touch on the ball but found himself unable to keep it out.
Forest kept the momentum for long periods, but the young Reds levelled in the 66th minute, with the on-fire Figueroa the goalscorer.
Left-back Nathan Giblin arrowed in a cross from the flank and the Honduras-born striker brought it back to 2-2 with a diving header – a stunning return from US duty.
Bridge-Wilkinson turned to his bench to manage the game and attempt to steal a winner, with Egyptian forward Kareem Ahmed among those sent on while Luca Furnell-Gill made his U18s debut.
The final whistle blew for a draw, however, and one which Liverpool are likely to welcome after a hard-fought clash in Nottingham.
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Osbourne, Pitt (Furnell-Gill 85′), Pinnington, Giblin; Laffey, Kelly (Morrison 60′), McConnell; Danns (Ahmed 81′), Gift (Onanuga 81′), Figueroa
Subs not used: Hewitson
Next match: Sporting CP (A) – UEFA Youth League – Tuesday, March 14, 1pm (GMT)