By Scott Taylor
Kristof Polgar scored his first goal for Liverpool U21s on his first start for the club in their 2-1 win at Southampton on Monday evening. After going behind from a strike from Harrison Reed, Harry Wilson equalised for the Reds from the penalty spot after Jon Flanagan was brought down by Jack Stephens. Hungarian defender Polgar, 19, then scored an 82nd minute winner from a Ryan Kent free-kick to give Michael Beale’s side just their second league win of the season.
The Liverpool manager was able to recall youngsters Kent, Joe Maguire, Pedro Chirivella and Jerome Sinclair, who were all involved for the first team in their 2-2 draw against Exeter in the FA Cup. Despite an eight-point difference in the Premier League table at the start of the night, it was the visitors who started the better of the two sides. In the 16th minute, Alex O’Hanlon had a shot cleared off the line by Stephens. Twelve minutes later, Wilson went close when he fired an effort just past the far post.
Southampton soon grew back into the game when Ryan Seager fired wide on the half-hour mark after good work from Ryan Fulton. However, Seager then set up Reed to fire the home side ahead with an unstoppable drive that Fulton could do nothing about. Despite this, Liverpool were level shortly after when Flanagan was fouled in the penalty area and Wilson fired past Paulo Gazzaniga to level the tie.
The Liverpool full-back was replaced at half-time by Brooks Lennon, as he continued his comeback from injury. Flanagan has not played a competitive match since the end of the 2013/14 season, and is getting closer to full fitness with another showing for the U21s. Reed then went close to get his and Southampton’s second when he struck the post in the 52nd minute.
However, 30 minutes later, Liverpool got the winner when Polgar got the faintest of touches from a Kent free-kick. Four minutes later, Liverpool almost further extended their lead when substitute Daniel Trickett-Smith fired inches wide of the post, but the Reds claimed a vital win. Despite the win, Liverpool remain in 11th place and are three points behind Norwich. They return to action next Monday when they travel to Leeds.
Liverpool XI: Fulton; Flanagan (Lennon 45’), Polgar, Maguire, Hart; Virtue (Whelan 65’), Chirivella’ Wilson, O’Hanlon, Kent; Sinclair (Trickett-Smith 86’).