DERBY, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 18, 2023: Liverpool's Elijah Gift during the Under-18 Premier League match between Derby County FC Under-18's and Liverpool FC Under-18's at Moor Farm Training Centre. Derby won 5-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool haunted by £1 million transfer as U21s lose to Athletic Bilbao

Liverpool saw a former player came back to score against them on Wednesday, with the U21s losing their final game of the PL International Cup to Athletic Club.

Liverpool U21s 1-3 Athletic Club U21s

PL International Cup (4), AXA Training Centre
January 10, 2024

Goals: Koumas 27′; Gift 45+1′, Asensio 56′, Hierro 90+4′

There was a reunion at the AXA Training Centre on Wednesday night as winger Elijah Gift, who departed the club in a £1 million transfer in May, returned with his new side.

Athletic Club were the final opponents for the young Reds in this season’s Premier League International Cup, with the group stage having already taken in clashes with Monaco, Benfica and Feyenoord.

Unfortunately for Barry Lewtas‘ youngsters, who were without a number of key players due to call-ups to the first team, it ended in a frustrating loss.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Thursday, December 14, 2023: Liverpool's Lewis Koumas during the pre-match warm-up before the UEFA Europa League Group E match-day 6 game between Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and Liverpool FC at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. Union SG won 2-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite the likes of Bobby Clark, Kaide Gordon, James McConnell and Trey Nyoni being with the senior squad, Lewtas was still able to name a strong lineup.

That took a blow in the eighth minute, however, with captain Tom Hill rolling his ankle and forced off to be replaced by Paul Glatzel.

Liverpool soon took the lead through Lewis Koumas, with the 18-year-old following up Glatzel’s effort to convert on the rebound for his sixth goal of the season.

But parity was restored before the break, with Gift scoring against his old club, again at the second time of asking following a Fabian Mrozek save, opting against a celebration out of respect.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 2, 2023: Liverpool's Kieran Morrison during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Etihad Campus. Man City won 3-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Substitute Kieran Morrison posed a constant threat to the Athletic Club defence, while both Glatzel and Calum Scanlon had opportunities to score, but the visitors soon took control.

Further goals from Ibai Asensio and Asier Hierro earned a 3-1 victory for the Spanish side, though neither they nor Liverpool will advance to the quarter-finals.

There is a quick turnaround for Lewtas and his players, with a trip to Brighton to come on Saturday, with potential for the likes of Clark and Rhys Williams to pick up game time.

Liverpool U21s: Mrozek; Miles, Pinnington, Nallo, Scanlon; Davidson, Pilling (K.Kelly 85′), Hill (Glatzel 8′); Kone-Doherty (Figueroa 85′), Koumas, Cannonier (Morrison 45′)

Subs not used: O.Kelly, Spearing

Next match: Brighton (A) – Premier League 2 – Saturday, January 13, 4pm (GMT)