By Scott Taylor
Bobby Adekanye scored his first goal for Liverpool U18s as they made it nine games unbeaten with a 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday morning. Adekanye, 16, who signed from Barcelona in the summer, gave the Reds a first-half lead. Yan Dhanda then scored his eighth goal of the season in all competitions to double Liverpool’s lead from a free-kick in the 53rd minute. Blackburn pulled a goal back in the 85th minute and Shamal George then made an excellent save late on as Liverpool to avenge their 4-0 defeat back in August.
With Adam Phillips and Corey Whelan involved in the U21s squad and Kane Lewis unavailable, Critchley had to make a number of changes from the 0-0 draw with Wolves on Tuesday. Michael Parker and George Johnston replaced Whelan and Lewis, whilst Ben Woodburn and Dhanda came in for Kris Owens and Phillips.
Liverpool started the better of the two sides in treacherous conditions and Toni Gomes created the first chance of the game inside the opening 15 minutes. The Portuguese youngster, who has six goals this season, had his shot from a tight angle saved by Rovers’ goalkeeper Andrew Fisher.
Gomes then turned provider when his backheel found Adekanye, who just about managed to get his effort inside the post to get his Liverpool U18s career off the mark. Blackburn responded and went inches within grabbing an equaliser, but a combination of the post and George denied Tre Pemberton, but the Reds ended the half with the advantage.
Adekanye, Dhanda and Woodburn all had efforts to put the game beyond their opponents, but they were left to rue the missed chances as Blackburn got a goal back with five minutes remaining. A mistimed header from Herbie Kane was capitalised on by Ramirez Howarth, who scored his third goal of the season. After a few more excellent saves from George, Liverpool held on for a win, but they stay third.
Despite picking up all three points, Critchley hinted that he wasn’t too impressed with his teams performance, but was happy to continue the momentum. He told “We can play better, we made a lot of mistakes with and without the ball. It was difficult to play, the pitch was heavy and it was difficult for both teams, but it keeps our unbeaten run going. It’s about learning how to win at his level, but individually a lot of the boys can play better.”
Liverpool XI: George; Alexander-Arnold, Masterson, Parker, Johnston; Kane, Ejaria; Woodburn (Owens 90′), Dhanda (Alves75′), Adekanye (Brimmer 63′), Toni Gomes.