LFC U18s 4 (Wilson 32’, Kent 48’, Hart 71’, Canos 87’)  – 1 (McFarlane 22’) Birmingham U18s

It was the first of many things for Liverpool Under 18s today as they took on Birmingham Under 18s in a behind closed doors fixture at the Kirkby Academy. It was the first home game of the season after last week’s impressive 2-1 away win to Derby County, and it was also the first home game for new coach Mike Garrity, who took over from Steve Cooper as Under 18s boss, after coaching the U12s last season, which included U21s skipper Conor Coady’s brother, Harrison. Furthermore, it was also the first home game for many of the young Under 18s, as most of them played in the Under 16s last season and the new signings of Sergi Canos and Pedro Chirivella, so there will be opportunities for everyone to impress new coach Mike Garrity.

Birmingham started very brightly and in the opening minutes Academy forward George McGhee saw his shot bounce back off the crossbar. However, the Blues did make the early pressure count as Kyle McFarlane beat Under 18s ‘keeper Ryan Crump from close range to give Birmingham the lead within the first 25 minutes of the match.

Liverpool soon re-grouped and young winger Harry Wilson continued his fine form as he scored his 3rd goal in the last two games just past the half hour mark, after an intelligent through from Alex O’Hanlon, who has just signed a professional contract with the club. The score remained 1-1 for the remainder of the half, with not many chances being presented for both clubs.

At half-time, Mike Garrity made 5 changes to the first half team. U16 fullbacks Jack Alexander and David Roberts were replaced by Dahrius Waldron and Sam Hart. New signing Kristof Polgar replaced England Under 16 defender Tom Brewitt, and Will Marsh was replaced by the Under 16 goal machine that is Adam Phillips. The final change made by Mike Garrity saw Louis Robles replaced by winger Ryan Kent. These 5 changes made an instant impact as substitute Ryan Kent collected the ball from the Birmingham centre-back, took it past another defender and hit it in the top corner to give the Reds the lead in the first 5 minutes of the second half.

On the 60th minute, Garrity made a triple substitution. Firstly Alex O’Hanlon was replaced by new signing Sergi Canos to give the Spanish forward his debut for the Reds. Canos has recently moved from La Masia academy to Kirkby in a deal in the region of €32,000, which hopefully will turn out to be a very good deal since Canos is highly rated by Barcelona. The next substitution saw Seyi Ojo replaced by Connor Randall, and the final substitution saw defensive midfielder Nathan Burke replaced by Liverpool’s newest signing Pedro Chirivella. It came as a surprise when Chirivella came on because most people weren’t aware that the Chirivella deal hasn’t been confirmed.

On the 71st minute, the Reds made it 3-1 as fullback Sam Hart intercepts the ball off Birmingham and slotted it past the Birmingham ‘keeper with a cool finish. 3 minutes later, Garrity made his final substitution as goalscorer Harry Wilson was replaced by former Chelsea youngster Matty Virtue. Liverpool completed the rout in the closing stages as debutant Sergi Canos scored his first goal in a Liverpool with many more to come in the future. The game ended 4-1 to give Liverpool Under 18s back-to-back wins in pre-season, but they have had to come from behind in both of their opening games, so there is always room for improvement.

As the game was behind closed doors, I couldn’t get any other specific information but I hope you enjoyed the match report nonetheless. For more information about Liverpool’s Academy, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@scotttayloruk). Thanks for taking time to read this match report and keep your eyes peeled for more match reports on this blog.

LFC 1st Half XI: Crump; Alexander, Cleary, Brewitt, Roberts; Burke, Marsh, Ojo, Wilson; O’Hanlon, Robles.

LFC 2nd Half XI: Crump; Waldren, Cleary, Polgar, Hart; Burke (Chirivella) ,Phillips, Ojo (Randall), Wilson (Virtue) ; O’Hanlon (Canos), Kent.

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