LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 1, 2023: Liverpool players line-up before the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Crystal Palace FC Under-21's and Liverpool's Under-21's at the Crystal Palace Training Ground. (L-R) Captain Tom Hill, goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga, Paul Glatzel, Terence Miles, Lewis Koumas, Luke Chambers, James McConnell, Amara Nallo, Carter Pinnington, Bobby Clark, Mateusz Musialowski. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

6 familiar faces fall to surprise LFC U21s defeat as 20-year-old marks injury return

Barry Lewtas named six youngsters with first-team experience in his starting lineup against Blackburn, but his under-21s side fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat.

Blackburn U21s 1-0 Liverpool U21s

Premier League 2, County Ground
April 6, 2024

Goals: Gilsenan 5′

The under-21s offered an early hint into Jurgen Klopp‘s plans for the trip to Old Trafford, with the likes of Bobby Clark and James McConnell selected for the academy side at Blackburn on Saturday.

They were joined by Rhys Williams, Trey Nyoni, Kaide Gordon and Lewis Koumas as players with first-team experience in the starting lineup – making for a strong outfit against mid-table Blackburn.

But a goal in the fifth minute for Rovers proved the difference, despite the Reds peppering their opponents’ goal with 24 shots across the 90 minutes.

Clark and Koumas had their chances, as did Gordon, but none could find the breakthrough to see Liverpool mount a comeback and move into the top four in Premier League 2.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - Thursday, March 7, 2024: Liverpool's (L-R) substitutes James McConnell, Bobby Clark, Kaide Gordon warm-up during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 1st Leg match between AC Sparta Praha and Liverpool FC at Stadion Letná. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was seemingly a chance for Stefan Bajcetic to take part in the clash having trained with the U21s over the last week, but the pitch conditions were not ideal for him to mark his return.

The midfielder last played at any level in late September, but he is due to return to full first-team training in the coming week in a welcome development.

And on the subject of injury returns, 20-year-old Harvey Blair made his comeback off the bench just after the hour-mark at Blackburn.

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 5, 2023: Liverpool's Harvey Blair during the English Football League Trophy Round of 32 match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Valley Parade. (Photo by Ed Sykes/Propaganda)

The winger suffered a serious knee injury in the summer and it has had a big knock-on effect on his season, with this his first appearance since mid-December.

As for what is next for the U21s, Lewtas’ side will make the trip to Old Trafford on Friday to meet a Man United side who sit seven points behind them in 12th.

Liverpool U21s: O.Kelly; Nallo (Davidson 62′), Pinnington, Williams, Miles; McConnell (Pilling 77′), Clark, Nyoni; Gordon, Kone-Doherty (Blair 62′), Koumas (Frauendorf 74′)

Subs not used: Poytress

Next match: Man United (A) – Premier League 2 – Friday, April 12, 7.30pm (BST)