By Scott Taylor
Jerome Sinclair scored as Michael Beale’s Liverpool Under 21s lost to arch-rivals Manchester United at Leigh Sports Park. Nick Powell opened the scoring for the Red Devils before Paddy McNair netted just after half-time. Sinclair’s goal between the two Man United goals wasn’t enough as the Reds lost 2-1.
The pre-match talk was also about former Barcelona star Victor Valdes making his debut for the club. Valdes, 33, was rumoured to have made his debut at Cambridge in the FA Cup or even at Old Trafford. Instead of putting on the jersey for the first time in front of 78,000 spectators, there was just a mere 5,102 spectators to witness his first outing with the Red Devils. Valdes was also making his first start since March 2014 after suffering a career threatening injury when playing for Barcelona.
For the opening 42 minutes of the game, Valdes was mainly watching on, as the hosts took the game to their arch rivals Liverpool. This was no surpise as the ‘Under 21s’ side included first team players McNair, Tyler Blackett, Nick Powell and Anderson.
However, it was Blackett who gifted Liverpool the first chance of the match. His pass was cut out by Sergi Canos, and the defender would’ve breathed a sigh of relief when he blasted wide.
Powell had created the first chance of the match for Man United after getting onto a lofted through ball from Brazilian playmaker Anderson. However, the former Crewe Alexandra and Leicester City fired wide in a chance that was easy to find the back of the net.
The midfielder, 18, made amends four minutes later as he gave the hosts the lead. After losing his marker Pedro Chirivella, Powell rose highest to hand it into the ground and beyond Lawrence Vigouroux in the Reds goal.
The Reds showed good character to respond shortly before half-time. Cameron Brannagan found Sinclair, and the 18-year-old striker fired past Valdes at his near post to level the scores.
Two minutes after half-time, United again took the lead. Saidy Janko dashed down the right flank, before turning past Joe Maguire and finding McNair. The defender then took a touch before placing his shot beyond Vigouroux and into the far corner.
Jesse Lingard and Rhys Jones both tested Vigouroux as United looked for a two-goal cushion, with Brannagan trying to level it, but his 25 yard effort hit the roof of the net.
Liverpool XI: Vigouroux; Randall, Williams, Maguire; McLaughlin, Brannagan, Chirivella, Ojo; Canos, Ibe; Sinclair.
Man Utd XI: Valdes; Vermijl, McNair, Thorpe, Blackett; Janko, Anderson, Pereira, James; Lingard, Powell.
For more updates, follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottTaylorUK