By Scott Taylor
Cameron Brannagan sent a timely reminder to Jurgen Klopp of his talents as the midfielder scored twice in Liverpool U23s’ 6-1 win against Kilmarnock at Marine AFC on Friday afternoon. The playmaker opened the scoring from the penalty spot and scored his second with a fine strike shortly after to put Michael Beale’s side firmly in control. U18s forward Toni Gomes also scored twice, whilst forwards Brooks Lennon and Harry Wilson, fresh from the international break, also got on the scoresheet.
Liverpool Head Coach Beale made 11 changes from the side that convincingly beat Ipswich in the Premier Cup last week, with Nathaniel Phillips and Juanma both getting an opportunity in defence.
Adam Phillips was given the captaincy after Wilson was benched, whilst Kane Lewis started in a more offensive position and Paulo Alves made his comeback from injury in midfield.
In his post-match interview, Beale highlighted the importance of these games for his large squad, with 40 players being used this season.
He told liverpoolfc.com: “It was a great opportunity to give some of the lads who haven’t been playing regularly a game, especially with our busy schedule of games coming up.”
Brannagan’s double takes him to four goals from just six starts, the same record as Portugues youth international Gomes.
Lennon has found starts hard to come by this season, featuring from the outset in just six of his 14 appearances this season, but another goal against the SPL side took his tally to five for the season, and the American youngster will be knocking on Beale’s door for a starting place.
Wilson then came off the bench to continue his fine form with his eighth goal in all competitions this season. His current hot streak has been reflective of the U23s this season, who also won their last friendly 6-1.
Beale’s side have won seven out of their last nine games and that run was something that impressed the Head Coach. He said: “It was really pleasing to continue our good from and it was an excellent display from the lads.”
The young Reds return to domestic action when they travel to Manchester United on Tuesday evening.
Liverpool U23s: Grabara; N Phillips, Whelan (Williams 65’), Maguire (Brewitt 45’), Juanma; Virtue (Wilson 65’), A Phillips; Alves (Garton 65’), Brannagan, Lewis; Lennon (Gomes 65’).