LFC U18s 0 – 2 (Kiwomya 88’, 90’) Chelsea U18s

The day has arrived. Steve Cooper leads out his Under 18 side to face the holders Chelsea on a very pleasant night at Anfield. After last Saturday’s stalemate with top of the league Spurs, Cooper recalled many first team regulars such as Ryan McLaughlin, Jordon Ibe and Lloyd Jones, who returned from playing with the Under 21s, and also had Joe Maguire at his disposal, as the full back returned from injury. Despite some decent performances, Daniel Trickett-Smith drops to the bench, alongside the returning Jerome Sinclair. Liverpool winger Jack Dunn will be looking to emulate his form in this seasons FA Youth Cup, as he has scored in every round up until now, and has scored 6 goals in his last 4 FA Youth Cup games.

However the visitors have won both of their fixtures against Liverpool this season, with each tie ending 2-1 so the Reds will be looking for vital revenge, but it wouldn’t be easy as Chelsea have only failed to qualify for the FA Youth Cup Semi Finals just once in the last 5 years. Some good news for the Reds is that the last time these sides met in the FA Youth Cup, it was in the 2009 5th round where David Amoo scored in a 1-0 win, where two current Liverpool players featured, Andre Wisdom for the Reds, while none other than Fabio Borini played up front for the Blues. This was also the year when Steve Cooper’s side last reached the Final of the competition.

The game started in a very slow tempo, with no notable chances being created in the first 15 minutes, but then Jordon Ibe cut inside to right wing to hit a shot from 20 yards out, but his effort was deflected, and that forced Liverpool’s first corner of the game. From the resulting corner there was confusion between Jordan Rossiter and Kris Peterson to prevent a certain chance. The Swedish winger then created any chance as he took it past Chelsea left-back Kevin Wright but his low cross found the hands of Mitchell Beeney in the Chelsea goal.

Liverpool were now having the best of the first half chances, and in the 23rd minute Jack Dunn played it to Jordon Ibe, and the winger fired in a low cross, that was palmed away by Beeney. It looked like a certain tap in for Kris Peterson, but a heroic tackle from Andreas Christensen prevented the Reds from taking the lead. Peterson then had more room and tested Mitchell Beeney when he cut inside from the right wing, but his 20 yard shot was straight at the Chelsea shot-stopper. Chelsea almost had the chance to take the lead, as a counter attack from the Liverpool corner meant that it was 3 v 1 as 3 of the Chelsea players ran at the Liverpool defence. However, Captain Jordan Lussey ran 60 yards to make a last ditch challenge to stop them having a shot at Ryan Fulton. Chelsea started to get back in the game, but the game entered the half time break goalless.

Liverpool started the second half on the front foot as Cameron Brannagan’s cross was intercepted by Beeney. Then Chelsea had a chance just a minute later as the young French striker Jeremy Boga cut inside the left wing, but the former Marseille player’s shot was just over. The visitors then came even closer to an opener as Ola Aina ran down the by-line and his hit the inside of the post after a touch from Ryan Fulton. Liverpool had a big setback a few minutes later as Captain Jordan Lussey limped off with an injury and was replaced by Daniel Trickett-Smith. Chelsea continued to dominate and striker Islam Feruz had the best chance of the match as his shot rebound off the post and found Alex Kiwomya, but the number 7’s rebound shot was wonderfully saved by Ryan Fulton. Moments later, there was a strong sense of de ja vu, as Fulton again denied Kiwomya with his legs and was cleared off the line by Daniel Cleary and eventually cleared.

With 20 minutes left to play, Liverpool had the best chance to open the deadlock as Kris Peterson ran down the right wing but his shot parried off Beeney and hit the post before eventually being cleared by the Chelsea defence. There wasn’t many chances to report after Peterson’s chance, so Steve Cooper brought on Liverpool’s youngest ever player Jerome Sinclair to try create chances and ran at a tired Chelsea defence. He replaced Jordon Ibe, who wasn’t necessarily given the chance to exploit the wings and put pressure on Chelsea’s full back. Despite, this attacking change, it was Chelsea who took the lead on the 88th minute, when Captain Baker’s shot deflected off Jordan Rossiter and fell to Alex Kiwomya, who took a touch, and slotted it in the bottom left-hand corner, even though he was being pressurised by Ryan McLauhglin. Chelsea weren’t finished there as Jeremy Boga cut inside the right wing and on the edge of the box thread it to Kiwomya, who put it past the helpless Fulton.

Liverpool go into the 2nd leg at Stamford Bridge with it all to do if they are going to qualify for the FA Youth Cup Final, but with 90 minutes still left in the tie, it’s all to play for.

Scott Taylor

LFC XI: Fulton, McLaughlin, Jones, Cleary, Maguire, Rossiter, Lussey, Brannagan, Peterson, Ibe, Dunn.

Chelsea XI: Beeney, Aina, Davey, Christensen, Wright, Baker, Loftus-Cheek, Colkett, Boga, Kiwomya, Feruz.

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