By Scott Taylor
Brooks Lennon and Harry Wilson scored for Liverpool U21s as they made it four wins in a row with a 2-0 victory over Reading at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Lennon, 18, netted his first league goal at U21 level to give Michael Beale’s side the lead in the 36th minute. Wales international Wilson, 18, then rounded off the scoring from a penalty spot to secure a fourth straight victory.
With many of the U21 players featuring in the first team’s 0-0 draw vs West Ham, many expected a weakened line-up. However, Beale gave starts to Danny Ward, Tiago Ilori and Ryan Kent in a strong line-up. The first chance of the game fell to American youth international Lennon, who had his shot blocked after good build up play from Wilson.
Kent then had an effort blocked moments later before Spaniard Pedro Chirivella fired the rebound over the crossbar. The Coventry City loanee latched onto a pass from Wilson, but like Chirivella, he too fired over. Despite this, their pressure told and they inevitably lead nine minutes before half-time. Alex O’Hanlon picked out the returning Connor Randall, who poked it through to Lennon and the forward slotted the ball into the far corner.
The Reds started the second half how they finished the half as they doubled their lead three minutes after the interval through the penalty spot. Randall was again involved as he played in Wilson, only for the winger to be brought down by Dominic Hyam. He picked himself up and fired it into the bottom right corner to double the hosts lead.
Reading rarely threatened in the game, and with 18 minutes to go, substitute Andrija Novakovich made a run behind the Liverpool defence only to fire wide from inside the penalty. Ward, who was captaining the side this afternoon, also made a few good saves to preserve the clean sheet, their seventh in their last games. The win sees Liverpool rise to eighth in the U21 Premier League, level on points Chelsea. They next face Man City on 7 February and a win can take them as high as fifth.
Liverpool XI: Ward; Randall, Ilori, Maguire, Hart; Virtue, Chirivella (Phillips); Wilson, O’Hanlon, Kent (Dunn); Lennon.