LFC U21s 1 (Morgan 69′) – 3 (Ceballos 23′, 50′ McEvoy 87′) Tottenham Hotspur U21s

It was a top of the table clash for Liverpool U21s as they faced top of the league Spurs at Anfield. It was the first league game at Anfield for most of this U21 side, however U18s Lloyd Jones and Jordon Ibe have already played here in the FA Youth Cup, with the latter scoring a brace. It was also a special day for manager Alex Inglethorpe, as this was the first time he was facing his former club, who he managed at the start of the season. The last time these two sides met it was the visitors who came out 1-0 winners. Each of the sides won their previous fixture, as the Reds triumphed against Wolves, whilst Spurs thrashed West Brom 4-0.

The game started very nervously for the Reds, as Tottenham started to apply pressure and show why they are top of the group with 7 wins from a possible 9. However the best chance came in the 8th for Liverpool as Joao Carlos Teixeira fizzing cross deflected off the Spurs defender and found Krisztian Adorjan, but his effort was cleared off the line before Adorjan was later penalised. Tottenham’s best chance of the match came in the 20th minute when a Cristian Ceballos corner found Shaquille Coulthirst and his glancing header forced a superb reflex save off Gulasci to deny the visitors an opening goal. However, 3 minutes later it was the Spaniard Ceballos who gave Spurs the lead against the run of play, when Ceballos took it past McLaughlin before beating Gulasci to give Spurs an advantage. Chances were hard to come by for either side as it was a strong battle for possession in the midfield, with the best chance for a Liverpool equaliser coming from a weak shot by Adam Morgan. On the 39th minute, the visitors almost doubled their lead as Lloyd Jones’ clearance fell invitingly to the goalscorer Ceballos, but his shot blasted high and wide of Peter Gulasci’s goal. Kristzian Adorjan was on his comeback from injury, and even though he created several first half chances, he was replaced by Nacho at half time.

Liverpool pushed for the equaliser but it was Spurs who doubled their lead on the 50th minute after a cross on the right from Jack Barthram found Ceballos, who rose highest to head the ball past the helpless Peter Gulasci in the Liverpool goal. Spurs looked to put tie to bed, so brought on Jack Munns in place of Coulthirst on the hour mark. Liverpool’s second change saw Cameron Brannagan come on for Joao Carlos Teixeira, the U18 player has impressed for his side this season so deserves a call up to Alex Inglethorpe’s side.

The Reds were back in the game on the 69th minute when Adam Morgan ended his goal drought by beating the offside trap, taking it around Vigouroux and turning inside Fredericks before avoiding Fryers’ challenge to slot it home in an empty net. Liverpool now had their tails up and straight from the kick-off Liverpool almost produced a quick time equaliser as Nacho’s creative through ball found Kris Peterson, but his effort struck the crossbar and landed well into the Kop. Liverpool now were completely dominating the game and soon after Alex Inglethorpe’s side had a strong penalty claim as Adam Morgan ran through but was brought down by Spurs’ keeper Vigouroux, however a penalty was not given. Cramp was starting to set in for the players as firstly Conor Coady went down for Liverpool before the goalscorer Ceballos went down, eventually being replaced by Roman Michael-Percil, who scored a brace against the U18s just a week ago in a blizzard at Kirkby.

Spurs started to weather the Liverpool storm and started pressing and after a mistake from Jordon Ibe, the ball fell to Kenny McEvoy, and the young winger produced a well taken finish beating Peter Gulasci from the edge of the area.

Liverpool and Adam Morgan almost scored their second goal as a mistake from the Spurs fullback gifted a first time volley for Morgan and the forward produced an outstanding save out of Vigouroux. Liverpool continued to look lively as the game went into stoppage time creating several corners but couldn’t find their second goal of the game.

The result leaves Alex Inglethorpe’s side third in the U21 Elite Group and well adrift of the leaders Spurs but only one point behind arch-rivals Manchester Utd. The U21s next home game will again be at Anfield but this time against Spurs’ bitter rivals Arsenal on Monday 8th with a 7pm Kick Off.

Scott Taylor

LFC XI: Gulacsi, McLaughlin, Roddan, Sama, Jones, Coady, Peterson, Teixera, Morgan, Adorjan, Ibe.

Spurs XI: Vigouroux; Fredericks, Fryers, Hall, Barthram; Bentaleb, Dombaxe, Veljkovic; McEvoy, Coulthirst, Ceballos.

 

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