By Scott Taylor
Liverpool Under-17s recently returned from Holland where they competed in the 2015 ABM AMRO Futures Cup. Overall, the young Reds finished fifth after picking up two wins and a draw from their four games. They were drawn in Pool B of the tournament alongside Anderlecht, Juventus and Celtic. On the opening day of the tournament, the Reds faced a tricky double header, facing both Juventus and Celtic.
It started off badly for the young Reds with a 2-0 defeat to the Serie ‘A’ side. Bioty Moise Kean gave Juventus the lead in the 16th minute when he chipped it over the onrushing Shamal George in the Liverpool goal. The Italian side then hit the bar with a long-range strike as they edged closer to their second. That came 11 minutes after the interval. Conor Masterson conceded a penalty and Carlo Manicone sent George the wrong way to round off the scoring for Juventus. Yan Dhanda had a few chances for the Reds, but couldn’t convert as they started off their campaign with a defeat.
Just hours later, Liverpool recovered and beat fellow Brits Celtic 1-0 thanks to a 53rd minute winner from Toni Gomes. It was a tight affair with Rhian Brewster going close on a few occasions. Ben Woodburn then hit the post but Gomes spared the Reds’ blushes as his deflected strike looped over the Celtic ‘keeper as the Reds picked up their first points of the tournament.
In the second day, the Reds faced Anderlecht, who eventually won the tournament, and their quality showed. Liverpool lost the game 5-0 which meant that their group campaign ended with one win and two defeats. Milan Corryn put the Belgian side ahead in the 7th minute, rifling home a shot inside the area and into the roof of the net. Liverpool held out until the 21st minute, but Orel Mangala fired home a close-range effort to double their advantage.
Just two minutes later, the game was out of the Reds’ hands as Mangala netted an almost identical goal to make it 3-0. In the 29th minute, the onslaught continued. Corryn was left unmarked at the back post and when the ball came to him, he was left with the simplest of tap-ins. All four goals were set up by Anderlecht captain Alper Ademoglu, who usually features for their Under-21 side and pulled the strings in midfield. Things went from bad to worse in the second half for Liverpool. Herbie Kane was sent off for elbowing Mangala, and in the 52nd minute, Ilias Benamar headed home Anderlecht’s fifth for a convincing win.
The Reds finished third in their group, and faced Galatasaray, who finished third in Pool A. The winner would finish fifth in the tournament with the loser finishing sixth. Brewster put Liverpool ahead in the 14th minute with a sliding effort at the far post. However, their joy was short lived as Galatasary equalised 18 minutes later, Bugrachan Kurmizitas with the finish. This meant that the game went to penalties, and Liverpool won 4-3 to finish the ABM AMRO Futures Cup in fifth place.