By Scott Taylor
Adam Phillips scored his fourth goal of the season as Liverpool U18s made it 13 games unbeaten with a 2-1 win over league leaders and Merseyside rivals Everton at the Kirkby Academy on Saturday. Ben Woodburn gave Neil Critchley’s side the lead inside two minutes before Phillips doubled the Reds’ lead on the half-hour mark. Delial Brewster set up a tense finale when he netted in the second half, but Liverpool held on in blustery conditions to move a point behind leaders Manchester City.
Liverpool started in dominant fashion and were ahead inside the first couple of minutes. Toni Gomes and Ben Woodburn combined well with the latter scoring his fourth goal of the season to give the Reds the lead. Despite going ahead, Critchley’s side did not stop attacking and had a couple of chances to double their lead.
Gomes was on the end of a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross, but his shot was blocked before Conor Masterson went even closer for the hosts. However, his 12th minute header was cleared off the line by Toffees defender Steven Kinsella. Young forward Gomes continued to impress, but his shot was dragged wide and neat build up play between himself and Ovie Ejaria.
Liverpool did eventually get their second goal of the game. Alexander-Arnold again provided a tempting cross, but this time Phillips, who scored a dramatic late equaliser in the reverse fixture earlier this season, got Liverpool’s second. The young midfielder, who went on the first-teams pre-season tour in 2014, almost got his second of the game, but he was denied by a strong save from Everton goalkeeper Ciaran O’Loughlin.
Everton recovered at half-time, and former Liverpool youngster Brewster pulled a goal back in the 55th minute, after the Reds failed to clear a corner. Just five minutes later, the visitors were inches away from being level, but Michael Donohue’s shot smashed off Shamal George’s post after a skilful burst of speed from the winger.
Phillips again went close to getting Liverpool’s third of the game, but his free-kick beat the goalkeeper but not the woodwork as it came back into play after hitting the crossbar. However, it didn’t matter as Liverpool held on for yet another positive result and will bring momentum into the FA Youth Cup tie against Ipswich this week.
Summer signing Brooks Lennon came on for Phillips in the 75th minute to make his debut for the Reds at U18 level after coming in from Real Salt Lake.
Liverpool XI: George; Alexander-Arnold, Masterson, Whelan, Owens; Coyle, Kane, Phillips (Lennon 75’); Woodburn, Gomes (Alves 75’), Ejaria (Lewis 90’).
Everton XI: O’Loughlin; Lees, Yarney, Foulds, Myers; Kiersey, Bainbridge; Kinsella (Holland 81’), Broadhead, Donohue; Brewster.