By Scott Taylor
Jack Dunn and Daniel Trickett-Smith made their comeback from injury but Liverpool U21s suffered a 4-0 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. Betrand Traore, who played for the first time in the League Cup, opened the scoring for the home side in the 41st minute when he headed home at the back post. Ruben Loftus-Cheek doubled the Blues’ lead straight from the kick off after a dazzling run. Tammy Abraham then netted two goals in very quick succession moments later, with the first being from the penalty spot, to seal the result for Chelsea under the watchful eyes of Jose Mourinho.
It was unrsurprisingly the home side who created more chances in the first half against a young Liverpool side. Loftus-Cheek had a low strike saved well by the boot of Ryan Fulton before he turned provider to set up Traore, who fired over. After Ola Aina saw his deflected shot go wide of the mark, Liverpool created their first opportunity of the game. Harry Wilson had a free-kick from 20 yards out, but couldn’t test Jamal Blackman in the Chelsea goal.
The Reds then had a golden chance to take the lead, but Dan Cleary’s header from an Alex O’Hanlon cross was too weak. They were left to rue this chance as moments later, Chelsea captain Charlie Colkett’s cross was met by Traore, who this time, got enough contact to beat Ryan Fulton.
Liverpool saw the game all but over in the space of seven second half-minutes. Loftus-Cheek had past three Reds defenders straight from the kick-off and fired through the legs of Fulton to further extend Chelsea’s advantage.
Things got from bad to worse for the Reds in the 51st minute, when Cleary fouled Kyle Scott in the area to concede a penalty. Abraham stepped up and fired beyond the reach of Fulton to make it 3-0. The Chelsea forward then got his second in as many minutes and his eighth of the season when he fired home after getting on the end of a Charley Musonda cross.
Liverpool didn’t have much of a foothold in the game, but did create a few chances courtesy of an Adam Phillips free-kick and a Trickett-Smith header. Chelsea went close to making it 5-0 but Fulton remained resilient, parrying Abraham’s shot onto the crossbar.
Despite the result, Michael Beale would have been glad that both Dunn and Trickett-Smith made their comebacks from long-term injuries when they came on in the second half. Liverpool remain in tenth in the Barclays U21 Premier League table and next face Benfica at the Swansway Stadium on 20 November.
Liverpool XI: Fulton; Whelan, Cleary, Brewitt, Maguire; Chirivella, Phillips (Dunn 66′), O’Hanlon; Wilson (Marsh), Sinclair, Madger Gomes (Trickett-Smith 66′).
Chelsea XI: Blackman; Aina, Tomori, Conroy, Dasilva; Colkett, Scott (Mitchell 68′); Traore, Loftus-Cheek, Musonda; Abraham (Muheim 79′).
By Scott Taylor