Paulo Alves scored the winner as Liverpool U19s beat Wolfsburg 1-0 in the third/fourth play-off to finish third in the 2016 Spax Cup. Neil Critchley’s side were competing in the group stage consisting of German sides Schalke and Hamburg SV as well as Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro. After finishing in the top two of the group, Liverpool qualified for the semi-finals, where they faced fellow Premier League side, but a defeat set up a tie with Wolfsburg, which they won.
The Reds took a 17-man squad for the tournament in Germany, including new signing Kamil Grabara, and U21 players Joe Maguire, Tom Brewitt and Matty Virtue as well as trialist Zorhan Bassong.
Liverpool’s opening game was against eventual winners Schalke. U18s captain Trent Alexander-Arnold and forward Brooks Lennon scored as the Reds began the tournament with a 2-2 draw.
Their next game was against Atletico Mineiro, where it was a good chance for Critchley to look at some new faces that he hasn’t managed this season including Sam Hart and Bassong.
The latter plays for Anderlecht and is on trial with a view to a long-term deal with the Reds, but none of Critchley’s team could make an impact as they drew 0-0.
This meant that they had to win their final group game against Hamburg to qualify for the semi-finals, and Toni Gomes was the star when Liverpool needed someone to step up.
The Portuguese striker scored both goals as the Reds won 2-0 in to set up a semi-final with Arsenal, looking to avenge their FA Youth Cup defeat earlier in the season.
However, the Reds suffered a 1-0 defeat to their Premier League counterparts, who fielded a strong side including the likes of Barnsley loanee Dan Cowley, with Eddie Nketiah scoring the winner.
In the other semi-final, Schalke beat Wolfsburg meaning that Liverpool had to play ‘The Wolves’ in the third and fourth place play-off.
Paulo Alves signed off his first season with the club, after signing from Portuguese side AD Sanjoanense in the summer, with a goal as Liverpool beat Wolfsburg 1-0 to secure third in the 2016 Spax Cup.
Some of these Liverpool players may feature for the U21s as they travel to Sacramento on Thursday to play two friendlies against Sacramento Republic FC on 21 and 25 May.
Liverpool U19s squad:
Caoimhin Kelleher, Kamil Gabara; Kris Owens, Conor Masterson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Tom Brewitt, Sam Hart, Joe Maguire, Corey Whelan; Paulo Alves, Ovie Ejaria, Herbie Kane, Zorhan Bassong, Matty Virtue, Madger Gomes; Brooks Lennon, Toni Gomes.