By Scott Taylor
Samed Yesil scored a brace as Liverpool Under-21s beat Tottenham Hostpur 3-1 at White Hart Line on Friday evening. Ryan Kent scored the other goal for the Reds, whilst Will Miller grabbed a late consolation for the hosts.Yesil stole the show with two goals on his first start for the Under-21s after suffering his second ACL injury in as many years.
Liverpool, who came into the game suffering back-to-back defeats against Leicester and Fulham, were faced with another task, managing France international Etienne Capoue, who was captaining Spurs. Michael Beale’s side came out of the blocks fast and took the lead inside the first five minutes. Kent fired home from close range past Luke McGee and into the bottom corner of the net.
Yesil had a great chance to make it 2-0 a minute later, but spurned his chance. Tottenham got back into the game and had a chance of their own. Kenny McEvoy, who recently returned from a loan spell at Peterborough, cut in from the right wing, but Lawrence Vigouroux was up to the challenge with a strong save. Capoue started to show his experience finding room in the Liverpool half, but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
However, just as the hosts were threatening an equaliser, Yesil made it 2-0. The Germany U21 international doubled his side’s lead shortly before the half-hour mark, captialising on a defensive mishap before composing himself and firing it home from a tight angle.
In the 49th minute, the rout was complete. Yesil was again invovled and he scored another goal with another good finish to make it 3-0. Despite the scoreline, Spurs never gave up and looked dangerous on numerous occasions.
Firstly, Josh Onomah’s effort skimmed just over the crossbar before Vigouroux had to be at full stretch to tip over a free-kick from Harry Winks. Ismail Azzaoui went close with a shot that hit the side netting as the hosts edged closer to a deserved goal. They finally got it when Will Miller netted a late consolation for the hosts in the 78th minute, but it was Liverpool and Yesil who run riot in North London.
After the game, Beale was full of praise for his returning striker and he suggested that Yesil was a perfect example of someone who works hard off the pitch to reap the rewards on it. He told Liverpoolfc.com : “I’m delighted for the lads and we did ever so well. It was great to see Samed getting two goals and only he could have scored the type of goals he got tonight, and with his wrong foot. It was great to see him after the game with a big smile on his face. He has worked so hard to get back to full fitness and his sharpness is coming back.”
It was not just Yesil who stood out, Beale also had good words for Kent and especially Corey Whelan, who made his debut at Under-21 level.
He said: “Ryan scored a great goal with his left foot and he, Harry Wilson and Sergi Canos were terrific for us. Corey was superb on his debut and Connor Randall and Alex O’Hanlon did a great job.”
Liverpool XI: Vigouroux, Whelan, Hart, Randall (c), Cleary, O’Hanlon, Canos (Ejaria 87′), Trickett-Smith (Pelosi 62′), Yesil (Gomes 67′), Kent, Wilson.
Tottenham XI: McGee, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Capoue (c) (Lesniak 72), Maghoma, Carter-Vickers, McEvoy, Winks (Azzaoui 57), Harrison (Akindayini 57), Onomah, Miller.