Liverpool Under 21s 0 – 1 (Pereira 43’) Manchester United Under 21s

A wonder goal from Belgian winger Andreas Pereira was enough for Manchester United Under 21s as they again beat Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Under 21 Premier League. The former PSV man was the difference in an action packed game at Anfield filled with good football, bad football, respectful support and disrespectful support.

In a repeat of last year’s semi-final, Liverpool Under 21s face Manchester United Under 21s at Anfield and Alex Inglethorpe’s men will be looking to avoid the result from last season, when Nicky Butt’s Man United side beat the Reds convincingly in a 3-0 win thanks to a hat-trick from Larnell Cole. However, the Reds should look at the positives. In that line-up last year, four players will be more than likely to feature this time round. One of the players, Danny Ward, is injured; 5 of the line-up are now out on loan including Jordan Ibe and Conor Coady; two have them have left the club and one man, Jon Flanagan has been promoted to the first team.
LFC XI (2012/13): Ward, Flanagan, Robinson, Sama, Jones, Coady, Peterson, Teixeira, Morgan, Adorjan, Ibe.

Alex Inglethorpe made just two changes from the win at Chelsea last month. Under 18 full back Connor Randall drops out whilst Ryan McLaughlin who has recently returned from a loan spell at Barnsley comes in. The only other change sees Cameron Brannagan come in for the injured Jordan Rossiter who is ruled out after picking up a knock in training.

First Half
Surprisingly it was the visitors Man Utd who started off the better side with a dangerous free-kick that thankfully for Liverpool was safely cleared. The Red Devil’s midfielder Joe Rothwell had a shot which was always rising over Ryan Fulton’s bar. Just before that, Man Utd also took the lead when a careless mistake from Brad Smith allowed James Wilson to run through at goal, but he couldn’t convert his chance as he beat Fulton but not the post.
Liverpool recovered and were soon back in the game when Joao Teixeira had a half chance with a free-kick in the 24th minute of the match. However, Liverpool’s attack was short-lived as United defender Paddy McNair had an effort on goal but a very good reaction save from Ryan Fulton denied him. There was more concern for the Reds when captain Lloyd Jones went down with an injured foot, but fortunately the Welshman was fit to continue.
Out of nothing, Manchester United took the lead when midfielder Andreas Pereira curled an effort past the helpless Ryan Fulton to score his 2nd goal of the season. The 18 year old Belgian produced the only real chance of the match and it was a goal to remember for the former PSV man who scored at the Kop end. The Reds did quickly respond when Jack Dunn’s powerful effort flashed over Ben Amos’ crossbar as the half ended Liverpool Under 21 0-1 Man Utd Under 21s.

Second Half
The second half didn’t start too quickly, but burst into life in the 57th minute. Firstly, the injured Joe Rothwell had to be replaced by James Weir. Then, Kris Peterson led a Liverpool counter-attack but couldn’t convert as it safely fell to Ben Amos in the Liverpool goal. Rafa Paez was then booked when he stopped a Manchester United counter-attack moments after Peterson’s shot. The Spaniard Paez was then involved in Liverpool’s next chance as Cameron Brannagan’s cross found the towering Paez, but his header was straight at Amos. The end-to-end action continued when Pereira tried another long-range striker and it was heroicly blocked by Lloyd Jones. Tom Lawrence continued the Man United onslaught just before Ben Pearson stung the hands of Fulton with a swerving effort.
Liverpool had a good opportunity to score when Joao Teixeira’s free-kick eventually fell to Kris Peterson, but the Swede couldn’t keep his powerful chance down as another chance goes begging.
Substitute Villyan Bijev had the best chance of the game for Liverpool after Jordan Lussey’s shot was parried across the goal mouth by Ben Amos and somehow forward Bijev put it over the bar and into the Kop as it looked like it wasn’t Liverpool’s day.
Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure on the Man Utd goal as Villyan Bijev had another effort but his header was deflected and went out for a corner. Sadly, nothing came from the corner as Manchester United hang on with the skin of their teeth to again beat Liverpool in the semi-finals of the Under 21 Premier League.

Team Line-Ups
LFC XI: Fulton, McLaughlin, Smith, Paez, Jones, Williams, Lussey, Peterson, Teixeira, Brannagan, Dunn.
Man Utd XI: Amos; Varela, McNair, Ekangamene, James; Janko, Pearson, Rothwell, A.Pereira, Lawrence; Wilson.

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 1,600 followers and it would be really appreciated if you can give me a follow.