Result
LFC U18s 4 (Kent 25’ 59(p), Canos 43(p), O’Hanlon 61’), – 2 (Leko 31’, Wedderburn 74’) West Bromwich Albion Under 18s

Goals from Sergi Canos and Alex O’Hanlon plus goals from Ryan Kent ensured that Liverpool Under 18s made it 2 from two as they dispatched a weak West Brom side to consolidate their place in the 3rd spot in the Barclays Under 18 Premier League.

Preview
After finally getting back to winning ways when they beat Leicester Under 18s 2-1 last weekend, Neil Critchley’s Liverpool Under 18s return to familiar soil when they take on West Bromwich Albion Under 18s at the Kirkby Academy. The U18s haven’t been in the best of form only picking up 1 win in their last 6 games, although Critchley has been experimenting by playing Under 16 players such as Matthew Virtue and Liam Griffin. However, the Reds’ opponents haven’t been in the best of form either, as they have won just 2 of their last 6 notable games so it’s all to play for for both sides who are out of form and looking for the points.

First Half
Liverpool started brightly as always, but it was the visitors West Brom who created the first few clear cut chances. Firstly, Andy Firth came on very quick to deny the West Brom striker before a heroic recovery from Daniel Cleary stopped a likely Albion goal shortly before the 20 minute mark of the game. However, totally against the run of play, Liverpool took the lead through Ryan Kent. It all started when the Reds clearance fell to Jerome Sinclair, who run from just inside the Baggies’ half, skipping past several defenders to set up Kent and the England Under 18 international smashed the underside of the crossbar to give Critchley’s men the lead in the game.
West Brom didn’t drop heads though as Albion’s number 9 Wright did well to test Firth from a tight angle, and the English shot-stopper was more than equal to the task as he tipped it around the post for a corner. The end-to-end action didn’t stop there as Dharius Waldron’s run and pass found Sergi Canos, who played it through to Kent and he should have got his and Liverpool’s second of the game.
Kent was starting to rue that missed chance as West Brom equalised through England Under 16 international Jonathon Leko. A mistake from Daniel Cleary allowed the Baggies to gain possession on the left-wing and their dangerous winger played it through to Leko, who had no problem beating Andy Firth in the Liverpool goal. After two disallowed West Brom goals shortly after that, many would’ve thought that the visitors would be most likely to score, but it was in fact Liverpool who regained the lead, when Sergi Canos was fouled in the penalty area by West Brom defender Smart. The Spaniard then picked himself back up before sending the ‘keeper the wrong way to give the Reds the lead again as the half ended Liverpool Under 18s 2-1 West Brom Under 18s.

Second Half
Liverpool started the second half just as they finished the second half, on the front foot. However, like in the first half, it was West Brom who had the first real chance when Leko’s cross found Andre Wright and the number 9 put it wide from less than 6 yards out. That missed proved crucial as Liverpool went back up the other end and won their second penalty of the game. This time, Ryan Kent was fouled, so he took the penalty, and like Canos he sent the ‘keeper the wrong way to give Liverpool a 3-1 lead. It didn’t get any better for West Brom as Liverpool raced into a 4-1 lead when Irish midfielder Alex O’Hanlon scored his 7th goal of the season with a low drive that was unstoppable. After a hectic 5 minutes, Liverpool made a double substitution when Jerome Sinclair and Sergi Canos were replaced by Daniel Trickett-Smith and Harry Wilson.
The action didn’t end there as West Brom got a goal back through Rhys Wedderburn, who hit a shot that was unstoppable for Firth to set up an exciting final 15 minutes in the game.
Few chances followed, but Ryan Kent again went close, whilst Wedderburn tried to do the same technique in the Liverpool penalty area and went close, but it looked likely to remain 4-2 as Matthew Virtue replaced goalscorer Alex O’Hanlon in the 86th minute of the match.

Team Line-Ups:
Liverpool: Firth, Waldron, Hart, Maguire, Cleary, Chirivella, Canos, O’Hanlon, Sinclair, Ojo, Kent.

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 (@ScottTaylorUK), I’m nearing 1.5k followers and it would be really appreciated if you can give me a follow.

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