Result
Liverpool 5 (Dunn 10’, 92’, Peterson 13’, 85’, Paez 36’) – 2 Newcastle (Roberts 7’, Aarons 18’)

A brace from Liverpool forwards Jack Dunn and Kris Peterson ensured that Liverpool Under 21s cruised to a 5-2 victory over second bottom Newcastle United to send the young Reds top of the Barclays Under 21 Premier League. After suffering an early scare when Newcastle took the lead, Liverpool responded when Dunn and Peterson came back for the hosts. Aarons eventually made it 2-2 before Spaniard Rafa Paez scored his 1st ever goal for Liverpool to give the Reds a lead into half time. After that, it was all about Dunn and Peterson who both scored in the last 5 minutes to secure all 3 points for Alex Inglethorpe’s side.

Preview
After last week’s disappointing 1-1 draw against Blackburn under the lights at Kirkby, Alex Inglethorpe’s Liverpool Under 21s were back in action when they faced Peter Beardsley’s Newcastle United at Anfield. Following the draw, Liverpool are 4th in the table and if they win tonight, then they go top of the table. Inglethorpe made 5 changes from the Blackburn draw, Jordan Rossiter and Cameron Brannagan return to the starting line-up whilst Ryan Kent is given his first taste of what it is like to play at Anfield. Another factor in the team selection is that Liverpool Under 18s face top of the table Manchester City Under 18s at Kirkby tomorrow, so manager Neil Critchley will want a full strength squad. Newcastle lie second bottom of the Under 21s league, but having dropped points against teams around them, nothing is guaranteed for the young Reds.

First Half
Liverpool started very brightly and had their first chance within 3 minutes when Jordan Rossiter’s pin-point pass found Brad Smith and his cross from the right wing almost fell to Ryan Kent, but a Newcastle defender knocked it out for a corner. Even though the Reds started the better, it was Newcastle who took the lead through Callum Roberts. After dispossessing Cameron Brannagan, Roberts ran into the box, shifted it onto his favoured left foot before slotting it past Yusuf Mersin to give the Magpies the lead. The complete opposite happened just 2 minutes later as Gael Bigrimana was dispossessed and it was Jack Dunn who got it on his left foot before ferociously firing into the next to level the scores.
More goals followed after another 3 minutes when Ryan Kent skipped past two Newcastle defenders before finding Kris Peterson on the edge of the 6 yard box and the Swede had no problem tapping it home to complete a Liverpool comeback that looked very unlikely just 5 minutes ago.
The action and more entertainingly the goals didn’t stop there when Rolando Aarons picked up the ball inside the penalty area, skipped past Joe Maguire and evaded the sliding challenge of Rafa Paez before poking past Mersin as the Jamaican made it 2-2 before 20 minutes of the game have even been played.
The end-to-end action didn’t stop there as Alex Gilliead had a 20 yard effort swerve just over Mersin’s crossbar in the 27th minute as Newcastle created pressure as they looked to go 3-2 up in the tie. Moments later, Jordan Rossiter fired an effort straight at Newcastle goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.
In the 36th minute, Alnwick was this time beaten when Cameron Brannagan’s perfectly weighted corner was met by the towering figure of Rafa Paez, who lofted it over Alnwick and the defender on the line to restore Liverpool’s lead in an action packed first half at Anfield.
Brad Smith has a wonderful chance to make it 4-2 but a heroic block off the line stopped the Australian born defender from getting an easy tap-in.

Second Half
The first 15 minutes were completely different to the first half, chances were few and far between and somehow there were no goals. Rossiter and Peterson were the Liverpool players who notably tested Alnwick in the Newcastle goal as both sides battled for possession in the centre of the pitch.
Kent soon played through Brad Smith shortly after the hour mark, but was judged to be offside when replays show that the young defender was in fact onside, a crucial moment in the game.
After 71 minutes, Ingelthorpe made the first change of the game when Under 21s home debutant Kent was replaced by Villyan Bijev after what was a wonderful display from the Under 18 winger.
In the 76th minute, the Reds almost made it 4-2 when Brad Smith’s cross found the flying Jack Dunn, but the 19 year old scouser couldn’t connect properly and his header went out for a throw in. After bringing on Liam Smith, Newcastle made their 2nd change when Greg Olley came on for Alex Gilliead.
Role reversal occurred moments later as Dunn turned provider for Smith but the Australian opted to use his preferred left foot rather than his right and as a result his effort went well wide from just 12 yards out.
As the game entered its final stages, Cameron Brannagan had the best chance to make it 4-2 when his curling effort from 20 yards out clipped the top of the crossbar as the 17 year old when agonisingly close to his 6th goal of the season.
Just two minutes after Brannagan’s chance it was 4-2 thanks to a second goal from Kris Peterson. Brad Smith ran to the byline and cut it back straight to Peterson and the Swede had no problem slotting it past Alnwick at the Kop end to score his 9th goal in the Under 21s this season.
Newcastle then had a goal disallowed for offside in the 90th minute as sadly there wasn’t another 4-3 between these sides that has been evident in many clashes between these two historic football clubs.
As the game looked to end 4-2 to Liverpool, Brad Smith’s pace again caused a problem for Newcastle. His run on the left wing went all the way to the by-line and again Smith pulled it back but this time he found Dunn and the forward struck both posts to score his 7th goal of the season and move Liverpool top of the pile in the Under 21s BPL.

Team Line-Ups:
LFC: Mersin; Randall, Jones, Paez, Maguire; Rossiter, Brannagan, Smith, Dunn, Kent, Peterson.
Newcastle: Alnwick; Streyy, Streete, Satka, Williams, Bigrimana, Kemen, Richardson, Roberts, Aarons, Gilliead.

Thanks for reading this match report and as always do not be shy to leave your views about the game or the squad in the comments section below. Finally, for more day-to-day updates on the Liverpool Academy be sure to keep an eye out on the blog and follow me on Twitter (@ScottTaylor), I’m nearing 1.5k followers and it would be really appreciated if you can give me a follow.

Until Next Time Reds…

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