It’s that time of the year again where promising youngsters all around the world come to Northern Ireland to compete in the Milk Cup. Unlike other tournaments, the Milk Cup is completely different to other cups, as you still have trophies to play for, regardless of where you finish in the table. The top 4 teams will play for the Milk Cup, whilst teams positioned from 5th to 8th will compete for the Globe, and that doesn’t end there. Teams for 9th to 12th will complete for the Vase and teams from 13th to 16th will complete for the Bowl. Finally, teams from 17th to 20th will complete for the Plate, so there is a chance a team can will silverware, even if they lose all 3 of their group games. 2012 winners Brentford will be looking to retain the Milk Cup after last year’s success.
In this Milk Cup review, I’ll be reviewing the tournament from a Junior perspective, who have brought a very strong Under 15 side, which included new signings Herbie Kane, Yan Dhanda and Cody Sunquist.The Liverpool Under 15s first game was against Irish team County Tyrone. They were looking to have a good start to the tournament and that is exactly what they got, as the Reds kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory. New signing Herbie Kane scored and so did Anas mo Abdo for the Reds. However, they game wasn’t the perfect start for the Junior side as Yan Dhanda came off injured just before the end of the first half and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament. After the game, Liverpool were 5th placed in the standings.
After their good start, the Under 15s were looking to make it two wins out of two as they faced 10th place Cavan & Monaghan DL. The result was not as good as the first game, as the Reds could only earn a 1-1 draw against the Canadian side. Liverpool defender Connor Masterson scored for the only goal for the Reds, as he skipped past 4 defenders to calmly slot it home, great skill shown by the centre-back. The Under 15s did come very close to snatching the 3 points but Herbie Kane saw his free-kick smash off the crossbar as the game ended all square. Liverpool slipped down the table because of that result and will be looking to get back to winning ways against Southampton a day later.
Knowing that they needed a win to have any chance of making the semi finals, the young Reds took on Southampton in their final group game of the tournament. They were looking to bounce back and that was exactly what they did and won convincingly against Southampton in a 6 goal thriller which ended 4-2 to the Under 15s. The boy who scores for fun, Herbie Kane added to his tally in the tournament with another goal, whilst fellow star Liam Robinson scored a hat-trick to become Liverpool’s top goalscorer in the Junior section thus far. After achieving victory in their final group game, the Under 15s did make it into the top 4 and will compete for the Milk Cup, but first they face County Antrim in the semi-final, the former club of Under 21 fullback Ryan McLaughlin.
Unfortunately the Under 15s could not capitalise and win the semi-final as they lost 2-1 and played Watford in the 3rd/4th place play-off, after the Hornets lost to Everton. This would’ve made the defeat even worse for the Junior Reds, who could’ve had a Merseyside derby final of the Milk Cup.
So, despite losing the Semi-Final, Liverpool’s junior side still had the chance to finish 3rd in the whole Junior section, but finished 4th place overall after a 6-2 hammering by Watford to put a poor end to what seemed to be a decent tournament for the Young Reds.
Liverpool FC Junior Squad: Owen Wheeler, Trent Arnold, George Johnston, Connor Masterson, Joel Bonner, Liam Griffin, Liam Robertson, Herbie Kane, Thomas Powell, Yan Dhanda, Joshua Agbozo, Alex Guest, Shamal George, Coady Sunquist, Josh Dobie, Anas Abdo, Harvey White and Kris Owens.
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Until next time,