By Scott Taylor
Samed Yesil scored a late winner as Liverpool U21s finished their pre-season trip of Ireland with a 2-1 win over UCD on Sunday. It was the Turkish forward’s third goal in two games on the tour, after he scored two goals in Michael Beale’s side’s 6-0 win over Waterford on Friday. Yesil, 20, was previously linked with a loan move back to Turkey, came on in the second half to win it for his side after Cameron Brannagan netted the opener in the 60th minute.
Liverpool started the game on the front foot but had to wait until the hour mark to get their reward when Brannagan gave the young Reds the lead. The young attacking midfielder, who was left out on the first-team’s pre-season tour because of a throat infection, got onto the end of a Sergi Canos cross after the ball came off Jerome Sinclair at the near post.
Yesil then doubled the Reds advantage after some smart work from the in-from Jack Dunn. The Liverpool attacker, who created plenty of chances in the win against Waterford, cut in from the right-flank and provided a perfect through-ball which split the left-back and centre-half. Yesil then ran towards the near post before firing a low drive into the corner of the net. UCD’s Samir Belhout set up a nervy finish when he rose highest from a corner to head the ball past Firth. However, the young Reds held on to make it two wins from two in the pre-season tour of Ireland.
After the game, Liverpool U21 manager Beale was full of praise for his youngsters after a busy week for his team, but hinted to would like to see them play well for all the game rather different periods. He told liverpoolfc.com: “After playing on Friday we tired a little bit in the second half, you could see the boys had a really long week. But in patches we played really, really well and created a number of chances and scored a fantastic second goal from Samed Yesil.
Beale also explained the benefits of going on a pre-season tour of Ireland, and revealed that his side will be playing against two big European sides in the near future. He said: “The idea of pre-season is to raise the level of game as we go and I think while this weekend has been really good in terms of our fitness next weekend is going to be a real test technically and tactically. We’re building up next to play against PSV and Porto in a tournament which is really exciting for us. We’re joining some of the players that have not gone away with the first team so that’s nice to have some senior players with us for a couple of days.”
Liverpool First Half XI: Vigouroux; Randall, Paez, Brewitt, Hart, Gomes, Marsh; Canos, Brannagan, Dunn; Sinclair.
Liverpool Second Half XI: Firth; Virtue, Paez, Whelan, Polgar; O;Hanlon, Phillips; Brannagan, Dunn; Yesil, Sinclair.