As the 2013/14 season edges closer, all teams begin their pre-season tours. Like every year Liverpool’s youngsters compete with teams all around the world for the Milk Cup, held in Northern Ireland. The Milk Cup is a unique cup since every club can win a trophy. In a league of 20, 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. Liverpool took a very strong side to Northern Ireland, which included new Spanish signings Sergi Canos and Pedro Chirivella, so the chance of the Reds winning a trophy was very high, and they did not disappoint.
They began the tournament in the worst possible manner as they went 3-0 down at half time against County Armagh. However, many people didn’t write off the Reds, especially after the first team’s heroic comeback in the 2005 Champions League Final. At half time, Mike Garrity made 3 changes as Ryan Kent, Pedro Chirivella and Harry Wilson came on for Kristof Polgar, Sergi Canos and Seyi Ojo. This brought instant reward as they won a penalty but substitute Ryan Kent could not convert as the score remained 3-0. In the later stages, Louis Robles and Adam Phillips scored for the Reds, but the Liverpool Premier side could not repeat the success of the 2005 first team as they lost 3-2 in their opening game to leave them 14th place out of 20.
This meant that they had to win their next two games to stand any chance of competing for the Milk Cup, so the pressure was already on the young shoulders of the team. Their next opponents were from South America as they faced O’Higgins from Chile. The pressure of having to win did not affect any of the players as goals from new signings Sergi Canos and Pedro Chirivella and one more from Ryan Kent ensured the Reds won 3-1 and make it all to play for in their final group game.
Their final group game was against fellow Premier League side Newcastle, and they still could have qualified mathematically so all they had to do was win and hope other results go their way.
Liverpool’s Junior side beat Southampton 4-2 earlier that day and the Premier side came away from their match just as successful as they beat Newcastle comfortably in a 4-2 triumph. Pedro Chirivella and Ryan Kent continued their goalscoring form by netting the goals.
Unfortunately, Liverpool’s Premier side did not finish in the top 4, finishing agonizingly close in 5th place, but will compete for the Globe.
In their semi-final, they faced tough opposition in Brazilian side Corinthians. It was probably the toughest game for the Academy lads on the tour, and the result showed. The game finished 1-1 in normal time, which meant that it had to go to extra time, and the penalties if needed.
It did in fact go to penalties and after being unsuccessful taking penalties in the first 90 minutes throughout the tournament, the Reds were certainly nervous.
After 10 penalties, it was Liverpool who came out on top, beating Corinthians 5-4 in a tense penalty shoot-out. That means they were through to the Milk Cup Globe Final.
Liverpool had a major advantage that would help them in the Final, and that was they were going to play Newcastle, who they have already played a beat in their final group stage match, so Newcastle were definitely looking for revenge and what a time it would be if they got it.
However, the club from the North East could not gain revenge as Liverpool Premier side again won by a 2 goal margin, but this time won more impressively as the overcame the Toon Army by keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory. Ryan Kent has been scoring for fun and continued scoring for fun as he scored one of the goals, but due to lack of information, I could not find out who scored the other goal.
Before the tournament, Liverpool had a strong chance of winning a trophy and they certainly didn’t disappoint as they ended their pre-season on the best possible note and hopefully this will be the first trophy of many that the Liverpool youngsters can win this season. The stand-out performers for the Reds were: Ryan Kent, Pedro Chirivella and Harry Wilson, as they continued their form from last season to score several important goals for the Reds.
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Until Next Time,