By Scott Taylor
Liverpool U21s will be looking to make it into the semi-finals of the U21 Premier Cup when they face Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow afternoon. The Reds booked their progression into the quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Leeds, with Daniel Trickett-Smith scoring the winner. Michael Beale’s side will be looking to make it into the semi-finals, and face lower league opposition in the form of Brighton for a place in the last four.
Liverpool U21s currently sit ninth in the Barclays U21 Premier League, three points clear of the relegation zone. The Reds did loan out 14 players eligible to play for the U21s at the start of the season, and this reflected in their results, with just two wins in their opening ten competitive fixtures of the season. However, with most of the regular U21 players back from their loan spells, they have won six of their last seven games in all competitions, including going unbeaten in January. The Reds have beaten Sunderland and Leeds in this season’s competition so far this season, and will be hoping it will third time lucky on Sunday.
Michael Beale fielded an inexperienced side for their friendly against Sligo Rovers on Wednesday, and since the U18s have just one game of their regular season remaining, players such as Adam Phillips and Brooks Lennon got valuable minutes. The U21s coach can also rely on Madger Gomes, who played 45 minutes in his comeback from injury on Wednesday night, but will be without Cameron Brannagan. It is likely that Brad Smith, Connor Randall and Pedro Chirivella have travelled with the first team and won’t feature tomorrow.
Brighton and Hove Albion U21s currently sit bottom of U21 Division Two with just one win in the league all season. The Seagulls have also lost ten games, and have conceded 29 goals, the most in the league. They have also struggled in front of goal as well, scoring just nine goals in 16 league games, seven less than the next lowest scorers Wolves. Simon Rusk’s side progressed into the quarter-finals with a 4-2 penalty shoot out minutes over Liverpool’s city neighbours Everton, after the game finished 2-2 after normal time. They will now see if they can beat the Red side of Liverpool when they travel to Tranmere’s Prenton Park on Sunday.
The Seagulls will be without Daniel Akindayini and Connor Tighe. The youngsters have joined Margate and Bognor Regis Town on one-month loan deals and will miss the tomorrow’s tie. The Divsion Two side come into the came with just one defeat in their last four matches, that coming in the 4-1 loss at title challengers Arsenal. Prior to their victory over Everton, Brighton failed to win a game away from home in their last seven matches, losing five of them, but will take credit from their victory at Southport.
The tie was meant to be played on Saturday 30 January 2016, but will be played tomorrow afternoon. Kick-Off is at 12pm.