By Scott Taylor
Brooks Lennon scored his first Liverpool goal as the U21s beat Celtic 2-0 in the Premier U21 League International Cup at Chester on Saturday afternoon. After losing the opening two games of the tournament against Chelsea and Benfica, Michael Beale had Joao Teixeira, Connor Randall and Harry Wilson at their disposal. Lennon gave Liverpool the lead with a well-worked goal before Cameron Brannagan rounded off the scoring with a fine penalty.
After a quite opening to the game, Jerome Sinclair and Teixeira created chances, but both were denied by Celtic goalkeeper Leonardo Fasan. The hosts then had a potential penalty appeal turned down after Wilson, who returned from his loan spell at Crewe, went over in the area. Liverpool almost took the lead midway through the second half. Teixeira’s corner picked out young Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella, but he could not keep his effort down.
The Reds then continued to create opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the game. After replacing Jerome Sinclair in the 68th minute, Lennon created two chances but neither were converted. However, with four minutes left, the American, who signed from Real Salt Lake in the summer, poked home after a miss-kick from Wilson.
Liverpool doubled their lead just two minutes later when Madger Gomes was brought down by Jack Breslin and captain Brannagan stepped up to fire into the roof of the net. It could have been 3-0 in the closing stages, but Lennon’s effort smashed off the crossbar, but the Reds ended the day with their first clean sheet a competitive game this season and all three points. Despite the victory, Liverpool finished third in the group behind already qualified Chelsea and Benfica.
Liverpool XI: Fulton; Randall (Whelan 60’), Cleary, Brewitt, Hart; Chirivella, O’Hanlon (Gomes 75’); Wilson, Brannagan, Teixeira; Sinclair (Lennon 68’).