It was a humbling experience for the Liverpool under-18s as they lost 5-2 at Sunderland, but there was a brace for the returning Lewis Koumas.
Sunderland U18s 5-2 Liverpool U18s
U18 Premier League, Academy of Light
March 18, 2023
Goals: Moore 3′, Cotcher 13′ 21′, Water 47′ 51′; Koumas 6′ 81′
Suspended for the under-19s’ defeat to Sporting CP in the UEFA Youth League in midweek, Koumas instead started for the U18s as part of an eye-catching forward line.
A glance at the teamsheet could have brought minds back to the mid-2000s, with Koumas, Danns and Figueroa all taking their places in attack.
It wasn’t Jason Koumas, Neil Danns and Maynor Figueroa, of course, but their sons Lewis, Jayden and Keyrol, who at least served up a positive in an otherwise miserable afternoon for Liverpool.
Up against a tall, physical and in many positions much older Sunderland side, the young Reds struggled defensively, and were cut apart on countless occasions.
Often they were saved by last-ditch tackles from the likes of Luca Furnell-Gill or goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek, but Sunderland picked up three goals in the first 21 minutes.
Koumas pegged back Ethan Moore’s opener with a sumptuous header, only for Mason Cotcher to score twice for the hosts as a weak back line was exposed.
Jake Waters made it 5-1 after the break with two quick-fire finishes, with Liverpool coach Marc Bridge-Wilkinson perhaps wondering what could have been after midfielder Kieran Morrison missed a big chance just 14 seconds into the first half.
There were more opportunities for Sunderland, with Mrozek standing up well in the latter stages of the game to avoid any further misery.
And Koumas reduced the deficit late on with a brilliant goal to mark his first appearance for the U18s since October and bring his season’s tally to 13.
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Davidson (Osborne 66′), Furnell-Gill (Pitt 87′), Pinnington, Giblin; Laffey, Kelly (Onanuga 77′), Morrison (Gift 66′); Figueroa, Koumas, Danns
Subs not used: Hewitson
Next match: Wolves (H) – U18 Premier League – Saturday, April 1, 12pm (BST)