By Scott Taylor
Ryan Kent scored his first U21 goal of the season as ten-man Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 at Chester’s Lookers Vauxhall Stadium in the U21 Premier League on Monday night. Reds manager Michael Beale fielded experienced players such as Adam Bogdan, Steven Caulker and Jose Enrique as well as recalling youngsters such as captain Cameron Brannagan to the line-up. This showed on the pitch as first Kent and then Jerome Sinclair found themselves on the scoresheet to secure their third win of the season.
Liverpool started the game on the back foot, with a Tottenham side which included England international Andros Townsend pressing the Reds midfield. Despite this, the hosts grew into the game, and in the 13th minute, Liverpool took the lead. Kent’s free-kick from a narrow angle flew towards the near post, where Tottenham goalkeeper Tom Glover spilled it into the back of the net as the winger opened up his account this season.
Tottenham always looked dangerous on the break, especially with the attacking personnel on the pitch, but the Reds did well to restrict them. Beale’s side responded and went close when Sinclair’s deflected effort was saved by Glover. The end-to-end action continued on the half-hour mark, when Tottenham created their first real opening of the match, but Bogdan did well to deny Townsend from a free-kick.
Ugo Ehiogu’s side went even closer to finding an equaliser, but Will Miller blasted his shot over the bar from ten yards out as Liverpool entered the interval with a slight advantage.
In the 56th minute, Liverpool doubled their lead to comfortably assert their dominance on the match. Matthew Virtue combined with Sheyi Ojo, who whipped in a cross and Sinclair poked the ball home from virtually underneath the opposition crossbar to make it 2-0.
Despite having the lead, the Reds did not settle for two goals, with Kent, Sinclair and Brannagan all going close in the second half. Townsend was again looking lively for the visitors, and he again went close, as he constantly looked a threat on the right-hand side. In the 74th minute, Jack Dunn replaced Sinclair as he made his return from a long-term injury, which has kept him out for the majority of the season.
The hosts were then reduced to ten men in the 80th minute when former Tottenham youngster Kevin Stewart was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a foul. However, Beale’s side held out for the win as they moved level on points with 10th placed Norwich. Liverpool return to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on 31 January, when Reading are the visitors in the U21 Premier League.
Liverpool XI: Bogdan; Virtue, Caulker, Enrique, Hart; Stewart, Chirivella; Kent (O’Hanlon 84’), Brannagan, Ojo (Wilson 89’); Sinclair (Dunn 74’).
Tottenham XI: Glover; Walker-Peters, Georgiou, Amos, Carter-Vickers; Lesniak, Walkes; Townsend, Miller, Goddard; Pritchard.