By Scott Taylor
Samed Yesil scored twice as Liverpool U21s started their 2015/16 season with a 6-0 victory over Waterford United. Jack Dunn gave the Reds the lead in the first-half, before Ryan McLaughlin doubled his side’s advantage after the interval. Sergi Canos and Sam Hart got on the scoresheet shortly after, before Yesil scored a quick brace, after missing a second half penalty.
After a sluggish start from Liverpool, Jerome Sinclair created the first chance of the game in the 21st minute. The striker, who recently rejected a new contract offer, got on the end of a lofted through ball, but his strike was comfortably saved by Waterford goalkeeper Matt Connor.
Eight minutes later, Connor had to be in fine form to deny Dunn. The shot-stopper made a fingertip save to deny the Liverpool forward, who cut inside before firing towards the far post, but Connor tipped it around the post. From that corner, the ball fell to Dunn and this time he wasn’t to be denied. The striker showed some quick feet before slotting past Connor to give Liverpool a 29th minute lead.
In the 32nd minute, Dunn almost scored his and Liverpool’s second, but his 25 yard effort skimmed the top of the crossbar with the ‘keeper beaten. Five minutes later, history repeated itself. Dunn found himself in a similar position and produced a similar outcome, but this time his shot smashed off the woodwork as Liverpool ended the first half in control.
To Waterford’s relief, Dunn was substituted at half-time as Michael Beale made nine changes to his young side. In the 51st minute, substitute Ryan McLaughlin made it 2-0. The Northern Irishman raced onto a through ball down the right wing before slotting in beyond the reach of Connor.
More smart work from McLaughlin followed but in the 63rd minute, Yesil was brought down in the penalty box leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. The Turkish striker picked himself up but his effort was saved by substitute goalkeeper Robert Birdsall.
Nine minutes later, the Reds did make it 3-0. Connor Randall got to the byline and cut it back towards former Barcelona starlet Canos, who fired it high into the roof of the net. In the 75th minute, Liverpool made it 4-0 as Hart had to be a full stretch to poke the ball into an empty net.
The Reds’ onslaught continued and just four minutes later, Yesil made it 5-0, having time to control the cross before calmly slotting it past Birdsall. Liverpool made it 6-0 in the 82nd minute, as striker Yesil scored at the second attempt, after his first shot was well saved by Birdsall. The final four goals came in a devastating ten second-half minutes.
Beale’s chargers next face UCD on Sunday, with a 3pm kick off.
After the game, Liverpool manager Beale praised Yesil’s performance, but also was pleased with Jack Dunn’s game. He told liverpoolfc.com: “It was pleasing to see Samed [Yesil] score twice. He is a goalscorer and he will take a lot of confidence from that. It was also great to see Jack [Dunn] score and he also hit the bar twice with two fantastic 30-yard efforts.”
Beale also praised the intensity and aggression showed my his team, especially in the second half, and warned the Reds’ U21 Premier League rivals that his side can still improve. He said: “In the second half we had a lot of pace in our attack with McLaughlin and Canos in the wide areas. We were at a good level and we will only get better.”
Liverpool XI: Vigouroux (Firth 45’); Virtue (Randall 45’), Paez (Hart 65’), Brewitt (Polgar 45’), Hart (Whelan 45’); Madger Gomes (McLaughlin 45’), O’Hanlon (Gomes 75’); Phillips, Ejaria (Canos 45’), Dunn (Brannagan 45’); Sinclair (Yesil 45’).
Waterford XI: Connor; Reidy, Nugent, Mackey, Corcoran; O’Connor, McAlavey; Galvin, Burke (Fitzpatrick 45’), Boyle; Galvin.