By Scott Taylor
Divock Origi played just over 60 minutes but Liverpool suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Sunderland in the U21 Premier League at Prenton Park on Sunday afternoon. Michael Beale made several changes from the 2-1 win against Middlesbrough on Thursday, with the likes of Danny Ward, Origi and Joao Teixeira all featuring. Despite this, they could not fire the Reds to a victory which would move them one step closer to avoiding relegation.
In a frantic start to the game, it was Liverpool who created the first opportunities of the game when both Ryan Kent and Teixeira fired wide from their free-kicks. Sunderland are challenging for the U21 title, and midfielder George Honeyman created two chances in quick succession, but neither caused Ward any threat.
In the 19th minute, attacking midfielder Teixeira was again involved, but after cutting in from the left flank, his deflected effort was well saved by the visiting goalkeeper James Talbot. Despite this, it was the visitors who took the lead shortly after half-time. In the 53rd minute, Rees Greenwood’s set piece was met by Mikael Mandron, and despite appeals of a handball by the Reds defence, the goal was given. Greenwood almost went from provider to goalscorer moments later, but his effort was well blocked by Lloyd Jones, who made his first start on his comeback from a long-term injury.
Sunderland did in fact get another goal in the 67th minute of the game, with Greenwood again being heavily involved. The midfielder switched the direction of the attack, and he found an unmarked Carl Lawson on the right wing, and he fired beyond Ward to secure the win to send his side to the top of the table.
Beale’s side remain in eighth in the U21 Premier League, and will face third-placed Manchester City, with the Reds looking to avenge their 3-0 defeat earlier in the season.
Liverpool U21s: Ward; Randall, Jones (Brewitt), Maguire, Smith; Chirivella, Brannagan; Ojo, Teixeira, Kent; Origi (Sinclair).