By Scott Taylor
Michael Beale insists there are plenty of positives to take, despite seeing his Liverpool Under-21s side lost 2-0 at Southampton on Monday night. Ryan Seager scored his 16th goal of the season to put the home side ahead after 67 minutes. Lloyd Isgrove, who today signed a two-year contract extension, rounded off the scoring five minutes before time.
After the game, Beale was full of praise for in-form Spanish winger Sergi Canos and also Under-18 midfielder Ovie Ejaria, and was excited with the promise that both of his players showed against a side with all but one of their players with first-team experience.
He told liverpoolfc.com: “Canos was very good and caused them problems and Ovie Ejaria came off the bench to make his debut at U21 level and was excellent, showing some really nice touches.”
He was pleased with his side’s approach to the game and recognised that it was never going to be easy playing against a superior side, but hopes it will be a good learning curve for his youngsters.
“We actually started the game brightly, although we were slightly off the level we have been playing at recently against an older and more experienced opponent.We had a great chance to take the lead before they opened the scoring and then they got the second when we were pushing for an equaliser in the final stages of the game.”
The result ended Liverpool’s four-game winning run, but the Reds manager is not blaming the fact that they missed key players, and was happy with the performance considering the players he had available to them.
“It would be easy to turn around and talk about the players we had missing with the likes of Jordan Rossiter, Ryan Kent, Jack Dunn and Samed Yesil unavailable, but the lads we put out there gave a good account of themselves.”
Harry Wilson was should a red card for dissent in the 80th minue, and Beale was disappointed with the decision itself and the consequences that his Welsh winger will face because of it. He said: “It was a shame to have Harry sent-off because he will now miss a few games.”
“It was controversial how it happened because he was clean through and was fouled. The assistant referee gave us the free-kick only to see the referee overrule the decision, and Harry then gets a straight red card for contesting that.”
The result sees Liverpool drop to 4th in the Under-21 Premier League and remain four points behind table-toppers Manchester United, but the Reds do have two games in hand. A win against West Ham on Friday will see them leapfrog Southampton into second place and Beale is looking to get his side back into the form they showed before the game at Staplewood.
“We now face another game when we host West Ham United at Chester on Friday night. We’ve had a really good run leading up to this game and we now have to pick ourselves up and go again.”