It was a successful evening on the international scene for Liverpool’s youngsters, but the Reds’ more senior figures were left to watch on from the dugout on Thursday night.
All four of Thursday’s international fixtures resulted in wins for Liverpool players, but not all of them made it onto the pitch.
Teenage pair Conor Bradley and Lewis Koumas both picked up caps in victories with their respective nations, but Diogo Jota and Jordan Henderson remained on the bench in their European Championship qualifiers.
Bradley‘s Northern Ireland defeated San Marino 2-0, with goals either side of half-time supplied by Dion Charles in the Group H opener.
Northern Ireland were heavy favourites heading into the contest, with San Marino ranked bottom of FIFA’s world rankings, but a routine victory and a clean sheet ensured that the visitors got their qualification campaign off to the ideal start.
Manager Michael O’Neill was very complimentary of Bradley post-match, saying, “He had a real positive mindset to the game, he is very good athletically, good technically and he keep improving and getting better.”
Koumas was also involved as his Wales U19 side recorded a 2-1 win over Scotland U19s, with goals from Scott Godden and Omari Benjamin.
Henderson, meanwhile, was named in England’s matchday squad to face Italy in Naples, but the midfielder was an unused substitute in a 2-1 victory which saw Harry Kane overtake Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time top scorer.
Gareth Southgate explained Henderson’s place on the bench was due to having not been able to “train fully” since England regrouped last week.
In a repeat of the Euro 2020 final, England began their bid to qualify for the next tournament by holding off the reigning champions, despite losing Luke Shaw to a red card late on.
Finally, Jota‘s Portugal also picked up three points in their Euro 2024 qualifier with an emphatic 4-0 win over Liechtenstein, in which 38-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo found the net twice in the second half.
Liverpool’s No. 20 went unused, but after eight consecutive appearances for the Reds immediately following his injury return, that might not be a bad thing.
England are in action again on Sunday against Ukraine at Wembley in a game in which Henderson will hope to get more involvement, while Jota’s Portugal travel to Luxembourg looking to make it two wins from two.