By Scott Taylor
Trent Alexander-Arnold scored his sixth goal of the season, but his Liverpool U18s side suffered a 2-1 defeat to Blackburn on Saturday afternoon. It was the first game of the play-off stage in the U18s Premier League as Liverpool looked to start their campaign on the front foot. However, Blackburn netted a last-minute winner to break Liverpool hearts as they secured their second victory over the Reds this season.
Neil Critchley fielded a strong side for the game, with Brooks Lennon and Toni Gomes in the starting line-up. Captain Alexander-Arnold again featured at centre-back alongside Conor Masterson, but both Yan Dhanda and Ben Woodburn both started on the bench.
Blackburn looked to replicate their 4-0 thrashing of the Reds back in August when they took a first-half lead. Corey Whelan then made his comeback from a long-term ankle injury when he replaced Kane Lewis in the 70th minute. This allowed Alexander-Arnold to move to right-back, and just 13 minutes later, he grabbed the equaliser with a clinical finish.
Despite this, Liverpool could not hold on for the point as the visitors won it after poor defending from a free-kick in injury time. Critchley’s side next turn their attention to the FA Youth Cup quarter-final, when they travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal on 4 March. Kick-Off is at 7pm.
Liverpool XI: George; Lewis (Whelan 70′), Alexander-Arnold, Masterson, Owens; Coyle, Kane; Lennon, Phillips, Ejaria; Gomes.
Blackburn XI: Fisher; Makinson, Platt, Mols, Williams; Magloire, Grayson; Howarth, Rankin-Costello, Pemberton; Mansell.

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