After last Monday’s exciting 1-1 draw between Liverpool and arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, the two footballing giants will clash horns next Tuesday with much more than bragging rights up for grabs. Alex Inglethorpe’s side will seem the happier team despite only picking up one point. After Jonjo Shelvey’s memorable 30 yard strike, the Reds showed great character to keep Man United at bay for 80 minutes, despite having only 10 men following the sending off of centre back Stephen Sama. It was the German’s second consecutive sending off against Man United, after he was sent off in their 1-0 home defeat at Langtree Park in February. The suspension will mean that Sama will miss the Semi Final at Old Trafford.
Unfortunately, there may be further potential setbacks for Alex Inglethorpe. Firstly, the Under 21s have not beat their arch rivals this season after Monday’s draw, and the 94th minute 1-0 defeat earlier in the season, therefore they will have to do what they haven’t done this season, if they are to progress to the final. Also, the first team are in action on Saturday, where they travel to Craven Cottage, meaning that Suso, Jonjo Shelvey, Andre Wisdom and even Conor Coady may not be playing on Tuesday due to first team involvement. It has not been confirmed that they will miss the game, and since there are 3 days between the first team’s game at Fulham and the Under Semi Final, the players should be able to recover in time. Another setback the Reds have is their recent form. Liverpool Under 21s have only won 1 of their last 5 games, which was against West Brom on 15th April. Additionally, the Reds last clean sheet came in the 2-0 victory against the Baggies, suggesting that there will be goals at both ends as Alex Inglethorpe’s side have not failed to score in their last 9 games. However, the last game where they failed to score was in the 1-0 home defeat to none other than their opponents, Manchester United.
Some good news for all Liverpool fans is that Jordon Ibe and Ryan McLaughlin are likely to be recalled, after being rested for Monday’s draw, so Liverpool will have a stronger squad and therefore increasing the chances of grabbing that all important win. Also, morale is good within the Liverpool squad, with Brendan Rodgers’ promising first year in charge coming to an end. And since Rodgers’ has shown a lot of attention towards the youth setup, the players should use this as an inspiration to impress in the Semi Final on Tuesday. And with the retirement of Jamie Carragher coming at the end of the season, centre backs like Lloyd Jones and Andre Wisdom should have the extra passion and determination to succeed. Also, following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and the appointment of David Moyes, it has been an action packed week full of change, suggesting that the Under 21 players may have been distracted and had a slight loss of focus. However, the appointment of Moyes can also be a disadvantage. As with any new manager, every single youth player will be looking to impress and since Moyes managed Liverpool’s great city rivals Everton, the players will look to impress the new boss on a greater scale by defeating their city rivals. It is important that if the Reds are trailing at the break, the fans should never lose focus. This is because 7 of their last 9 goals they have scored have been in the second half, and 2 of the last 3 goals have been scored after the 82nd minute of the match, so it is important that nobody shall write the Reds off. Also, goals have come from all angles recently with no player being a stand out goalscorer. 6 of their last 8 goals have come from various players, meaning that the Under 21s won’t have to rely on one player to find goals. The player on form at the moment is Adam Morgan who has scored 3 goals in the last 6 games, so it is likely that the Liverpudlian striker will be a contender to get his name on the score sheet come Tuesday night.
My Under 21s team against Man Utd: (4-2-3-1)
Ward; McLaughlin, Jones, Wisdom, Flannagan; Coady, Teixeira; Ibe, Shelvey, Suso; Morgan.
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