By Scott Taylor
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn were on target as Liverpool U18s won their first League game of the 2015/16 with a 2-0 victory against Derby County at the Kirkby Academy. Captain Alexander-Arnold, 16, took the responsibility and gave the Reds the lead with a 34th minute penalty. The midfielder then set up Wales U17 international Woodburn to seal the result as Woodburn scored his first goal for the U18s.
Neil Critchley’s side started the better of the two sides. Debutant Paulo Alves, a summer signing from Portuguese third division side AD Sanjoanense, tested Derby goalkeeper Matt Yates midway through the first half. Alves then caused problems to create the penalty. He played through Ovie Ejaria, who was fouled in the penalty area.
To the surprise of Critchley, captain Alexander-Arnold then took the initiative to fire the Reds in front with his first goal of the season. The visitors almost equalised shortly after when Calum Macdonald’s cross-come-shot smashed the top of the crossbar after Shamal George was left stranded off his line.
Derby then started the second half just as they finished the first, with left-back Macdonald again going close, but his free-kick flew wide. They were left to rue there chances ten minutes later, as Woodburn doubled Liverpool’s lead. Alexander-Arnold capitalised on a loose pass from the Derby defence to feed Wales youngster Woodburn who made no mistake.
The young Reds had two more glorious chances to make it 3-0 in the final ten minutes. Adam Phillips saw his corner cleared off the line after Yates got the judgement all wrong before Herbie Kane had his shot blocked after being played in by Woodburn.
Liverpool will take momentum into their next fixture, as the first Merseyside derby of the season awaits, with the Reds travelling to Finch Farm to host Everton.
Liverpool XI: George; Lewis, Johnston, Masterson, Parker; Alves, Kane; Alexander-Arnold (Brimmer 73′), Phillips, Ejaria; Woodburn.