By Scott Taylor

Liverpool U21s suffered a 3-0 defeat to Denmark U20s at the Middelfart Stadium on Thursday night. The two sides met last season as Joao Teixiera marked his comeback with a good performance in a 0-0 draw. It wasn’t to be this time for Michael Beale’s side, who conceded three second-half goals and had Alex O’Hanlon sent off.

The Reds had two notable chances in the first half. After Denmark’s Mads Pedersen was booked for halting a Liverpool attack, Jack Dunn threatened an opener with a direct free-kick but it went wide. Ryan Kent had a chance of his own moments later, however the winger, who is linked with a loan move to MK Dons, fired his long-range effort wide. FC Midtjylland’s Mikkel Duelund looked the most likely for the home side as he created several chances, but none that troubled Andy Firth in the Liverpool goal.

In the second half, Denmark started off the much better side after making three changes at the interval and created a handful of chances in the opening few minutes of the game. Dunn then almost opened the scoring for the visitors as his overhead kick was well saved by Denmark goalkeeper Nicolai Jepsen. This seemed to be the turning point of the game as the hosts opened the scoring two minutes later. Liverpool were again on the attack, but when the move broke down, Denmark counter-attacked and a cross from Duelund, which was aimed for his team-mates in the area, was deflected and it flew over a helpless Firth.

It went from bad to worse for Beale’s boys as midfielder O’Hanlon was sent off on the hour mark after a professional foul on Pedersen. The one man advantage proved useful for Denmark and the home side capitalised on this with another goal in the 77th minute. Magnus Pedersen’s long rnage strike was too powerful for Firth, as the hosts put daylight between them and the young Reds. Denmark U20s made it 3-0 four minutes later, as Duelund smashed home a 30-yard free-kick to seal a good result for the Danes.

After the game, Reds manager Beale thought his side were unlucky to lose by such a margin, but found the game to be beneficial for all his players, especially the ones who have recently had injuries. He told “It was a difficult night for us and overall the best team won. Jack [Dunn] was very unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet with two great efforts and I thought the sending-off was harsh. It was a good experience for the lads to play against the Denmark U20 national team and we gave valuable minutes to Jack [Dunn], Ryan McLaughlin and Samed Yesil as they get back to full fitness.”

Liverpool U21s return to league action on Thursday 19 August, when they face Everton U21s at Haig Avenue in the first mini-derby of the 2015/16 season.

Liverpool XI: Firth; McLaughlin (Randall 65’), Cleary, Brewitt (Polgar 65’), Maguire; Allan, O’Hanlon; Dunn (Sinclair 65’), Brannagan (Marsh 65’), Kent; Yesil.

Denmark XI: John (Jepsen 45’); Andersen (Lund 45’), Mouritsen, Thomasen (Zacho 59’), Borsting (Jensen 45’); Rasmussen, Duelund, Olesen (Pedersen 59’), Pedersen; Bager (Brandhof 59’), Simonsen.