By Scott Taylor
Harry Wilson scored a second-half penalty, but it wasn’t enough for Liverpool Under-21s as they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Leicester at King Power Stadium on Monday.
The Welsh winger reduced the Reds deficit afrer Joe Dodoo and Tom Lawrence fired the hosts into a 2-0 lead at the halfway stage. Dodoo then netted his second of the game to seal all three points for Steve Beaglehole’s side.
Liverpool were facing a team in form. Prior to this fixture, the Foxes have lost just once in their last nine games. Things weren’t getting any easier for Liverpool as their opponents fielded first-team players such as Ben Hamer, Liam Moore, Danny Drinkwater and Tom Lawrence.
Liverpool again started brightly. Goalscorer Wilson burst down the left wing before looking and finding Ryan Kent. However Kent, who was making his first start since coming back from a long-term injury shot wide from inside the penalty area.
Michael Beale’s side continued to knock on Leicester’s front door. The in-form Sergi Canos skillfully dribbled his way through the Foxes back line but Moore stopped him just as he was about to shoot.
That moment changed the momentum on the game. Louis Rowley had a half-chance blocked by Canos, but then they went one better and grabbed the opener. Jack Barmby rounded off a good team move by feeding Dodoo. The midfielder gave his side the lead by slotting it past Lawrence Vigouroux with he help of a deflection.
Vigouroux did well to keep the score at 1-0. Firstly, Harry Panayiotou, who won March’s U21 Premier League Player of the Month, missed a chance from six yard. Then, the Reds shot-stopper tipped a stinging shot from Drinkwater around the post. The onslaught on the Chilean’s goal did not stop there. Doodo was this time involved, forcing the goalkeeper into a save before Drinkwater fired wide as the hosts started to assert their authority.
It was then no surprise when Leicester doubled their lead in the 43th minute. Rowley capitalised on a defensive mistake from the Reds defence and fed Lawrence. The midfielder then made no mistake from 20 yards out, getting a deserved second for the hosts.
The hafl-time whistle came at a good time for Liverpool. Beale rejuvinated his side and the Reds came back out a completely different side. Just four minutes after the interval, the got back into the game. Jak McCourt fouled Wilson in the area and the Wales International picked himself up and beat Hamer from 12 yards.
The game then spurred into life. Barmby and Panayiotou both went close to restoring the two-goal lead with long range efforts. Then, Jerome Sinclair had a great chance to make it 2-2 but he fired just wide as the end-to-end action continued. Marc Pelosi was making his comeback from injury for Liverpool, and the second-half substitute fired wide of Hamer’s goal with just the Leicester keeper to beat.
Liverpool rued their missed chances and in the 72nd minute, the hosts punished them and made it 3-1. It was when a Liverpool attack broke down, Drinkwater hit the Reds on the counter, fed it to Dodoo, and he made not mistake with his third goal in his last two games.
Vigouroux then spared his team’s blushes deep into injury-time. He tipped an effort from Simonas Stankevicius over the bar as the goalkeeper’s efforts kept the score respectable in otherwise a bad night for the Reds.
There was an injury concern to Pedro Chirivella, who went off with an ankle injury 13 minutes before time, and was replaced by Under-18s captain Tom Brewitt.
Liverpool XI: Vigouroux, Randall (c), Hart, Chirivella (Brewitt 77), Cleary, O’Hanlon, Canos (Yesil 70), Ejaria (Pelosi 61), Sinclair, Kent, Wilson
Leicester XI: Hamer, Davis, Rowley (Stankevicius 66), McCourt (Scott 56), Sesay (c), Moore, Lawrence, Drinkwater, Panayiotou (Ndukwu 84), Barmby, Dodoo