LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 23, 2023: Liverpool's Jayden Danns during the Under-18 Premier League North match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Everton FC Under-18's, the Mini-Mini-Merseyside Derby, at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bajcetic, Danns & Clark start as Liverpool qualify for play-offs despite defeat

Despite a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal, Liverpool U21s qualified for the divisional play-offs in the Premier League 2, as Stefan Bajcetic started in a very strong side.

Liverpool U21s 0-2 Arsenal U21s

Premier League (20), Kirkby Academy
April 28, 2024

Goals: Cozier-Duberry 26′, 28′

It may have been a strong side on paper but Liverpool Under-21s were beaten for a second consecutive match in the PL 2.

Bajcetic played in midfield alongside Bobby Clark and James McConnell, while the front three consisted of Kaide Gordon, Jayden Danns and Lewis Koumas, all of whom have scored for the first team.

Notably, Arsenal started Jurrien Timber at right-back, who signed from Ajax for £38 million last summer. He was playing as he continues his recovery from an ACL injury sustained in the first week of the season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 14, 2023: Liverpool's Bobby Clark looks on during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-21's and Everton FC Under-21's, the Mini-Merseyside Derby, at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

With the wind playing a part in Kirkby as usual, Bajcetic attempted a speculative long-range effort within the first couple of minutes that didn’t quite come off.

In general, though, the first half was tight but Arsenal had the clinical edge. Well, Amario Cozier-Duberry had the clinical edge.

He fired home twice in quick succession, with the second in particular catching the eye as the ball flew into Fabian Mrozek’s top corner.

Half time: Liverpool U21s 0-2 Arsenal U21s

After the break Liverpool improved and Arsenal goalkeeper Brian Okonkwo was called in to action several times.

Barry Lewtas‘ substitutions, bringing on Trey Nyoni after 62 minutes as well as Tommy Pilling and Melkamu Frauendorf 10 minutes later, helped the Reds push on.

Koumas arguably had the best chance when he raced onto Rhys Williams‘ ball, but couldn’t manage to go around the onrushing ‘keeper.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 28, 2024: Liverpool's Lewis Koumas during the FA Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ultimately, Arsenal had their own chances too, though, and will feel their three points were deserved.

The result means Liverpool should now finish the Premier League 2 season in eighth position and go onto play in the divisional play-offs.

This will see the top 16 under-21 teams from across the country compete in a knockout competition to decide the overall champions.

Liverpool U21s: Mrozek; Miles, Nallo, Williams, Davidson; McConnell (Pilling 73′), Bajcetic (Nyoni 62′), Clark; Gordon, Danns (Frauendorf 73′), Koumas

Subs not used: Kelly, Pinnington

Next Match: Liverpool will play in the last-16 of the divisional play offs between May 3 and May 6, The date, location and opponent is yet to be confirmed.