By Scott Taylor
Sergi Canos was the hero as his injury-time equaliser meant that Liverpool shared the spoils with opponents Derby in a ten goal thriller at the University of Derby’s training centre. The Spaniard sealed his hat-trick in added time to end a game which saw a goal on average every nine minutes. Ryan Kent also scored twice for Neil Critchley’s side in the entertaining game in the north.
Derby started brighter and took advantage of this in the first minute when Charles Vernam opened the scoring from the penalty. It was after Derby’s Offrande Zanzala was brought down inside the area.
The Reds responded straight from the kick-off as the tricky feet of Ryan Kent caused problems for Rams’ Joma Moulton and the young winger fired a strike that goalkeeper Josh Barnes could do nothing about, after Moulton had given the ball away.
Moulton then made amends as Derby re-took the lead with his headed effort, but the home side didn’t learn from their previous mistake as they lost possession and Sergi Canos capitalised and made it 2-2 with a strike from outside the penalty area.
In the 12th minute, Derby made it 3-2 after Kellan Gordon was on the end of a good, flowing team move in a goal-dominated opening to the game.
Liverpool again re-grouped and came back with another equaliser through striker Canos who created space in the penalty area. The Spaniard then recieved the ball frist time on the edge of the area and volleyed it straight into the top corner.
Their desire shone through as the Reds took the lead for the first time in the match as Ryan Kent made it 4-3 on the stroke of half-time. The winger capitalised on a mistake from Derby goalkeeper Barnes, and all he had to do was slot it home into an empty net, which he calmly did.
The Reds then got a taste of their own medicine, as Darren Wassall’s men recovered and brought the scores level after a fine counter attack was finished off by the chest of Zanzala. The midfielder’s goal made it 4-4 and normal service was resumed in the 70th minute when Derby again regained the lead. Vernam’s 20 yard free-kick was saved by Andy Firth in the Liverpool goal, but second half substitute Tom Mellors was quickest to react to net the ninth goal of the game.
That wasn’t enough for Derby as Canos claimed his hat-trick with a fine finish in time added on. The former La Masia forward recieved the ball from a cross on the right-hand side, before controlling it with his left-foot before drilling it into the far corner of the net with his right to save a point for the Under 18s.
Liverpool manager Neil Critchley was shocked by the display by his side, but noted that there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
He told liverpoolfc.com: It was great for the supporters watching it but not for the coaches!
“Going forward some of our play was fantastic but as a team our defending was woeful and we have got to do a lot better than that.
“It was pleasing to see Sergi and Ryan score goals and continue their good progress this season – and we had Pedro Chirivella back from injury as well, so that was a bonus for us.
“Jake Brimmer made his debut at this level and did well, but overall I can’t be happy with the way we played as we have got to defend better as a team.”
Liverpool XI: Firth, Lewis, Travis, Whelan, Hart, Chirivella, Brimmer, Phillips, Canos, Marsh, Kent.
Derby County XI: Barnes, Dryden, Stabana, Bird, Moulton, Cover, Carvell, Babos, Zanzala, Vernam, Gordon.
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