By Scott Taylor
Adam Phillips scored a 93rd minute equaliser as ten-man Liverpool U18s drew 1-1 with city neighbours Everton in a thrilling game at Finch Farm. An own goal from Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane put the Toffees in front. The hosts looked on course for their fifth win in a row, but Phillips struck with a looping header in injury-time to secure a point for Neil Critchley’s side, who had Conor Masterson sent off.
Everton enjoyed more of the possession in the early stages, and their dominance soon paid off when they took the lead in the fifth minute. Michael Donohue crossed the ball into the penalty box, but England youth international Kane sliced it beyond Shamal George to give the home side the lead. Donohue continued to be a handful for the Liverpool defence, but his crosses couldn’t find an end product.
Kane almost made amends in the 17th minute. He played in midfield partner Paulo Alves, but the Portguese youngster fired wide, with just Everton ‘keeper Cairan O’Loughlin to beat. Liverpool continued to knock on the door of the Everton defence but to no avial, Ovie Ejaria was the latest man to miss the target after being supplied by Ben Woodburn. Everton had the final chance of the half, when Jack Bainbridge’s header was straight at George, but Liverpool ended the first 45 minutes on top.
The second half started in the same way that the first ended. Liverpool were looking increasingly more likely to grab an equaliser. After Kane had a penalty appeal turned down, he and Alves again combined. However, this time, Alves’ tame effort was smothered by the on-rushing O’Loughlin after he found himself in another one-on-one situation.
Liverpool looked to be getting frustrated that they couldn’t convert their chances, and their task of getting a result looked even harder in the 83rd minute. Irish defender Masterson was sent off after fouling Delial Brewster when he was clean through on goal. Moments before, Brewster had a chance to double the home side’s advantage, but he head Donohue’s cross wide.
Paul Tait’s side had an even better chance to put the game out of reach in the 89th minute. After Liverpool were on the attack, Jack Kiersey chased a clearance from the Everton defence, and got to the ball before Liverpool goalkeeper George. After rounding him, Kiersey fired his long range effort wide of the target.
Critchley’s side didn’t give up though, despite surviving the late scares, and their persistence was rewarded in the final few minutes of the game. George Johnston’s cross was floated towards the back post, where Phillips rose above his marker to send a looping header over O’Loughlin to seal a point for Liverpool in the mini-Merseyside derby. The Liverpool midfielder ends a fine week on a personal note, after he was included in the first-team’s matchday squad for their Europa League tie at Bordueax.
Liverpool looked to make it three games unbeaten when they host Newcastle next Saturday.
Liverpool XI: George; Lewis, Johnston, Masterson, Whelan; Kane, Phillips; Alexander-Arnold, Alves (Brimmer 67′), Ejaria; Woodburn.
By Scott Taylor