By Scott Taylor
Brooks Lennon scored his second goal in three games as Liverpool U23s came from behind to draw 1-1 with Porto in the Premier League International Cup on Wednesday.
Omar Govea put the Portuguese visitors ahead shortly after half-time, before American Lennon levelled the tie with his seventh goal of the season.
Michael Beale’s side now have one point from their first two group games, and must beat Leicester to stand any chance of qualification to the last 16.Head Coach Beale made six changes from the side that lost 1-0 to league leaders Manchester City on Friday, with Marko Grujic earning a second start of the season for the U23s.
The Reds were missing Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria, Pedro Chirivella and Joe Maguire, whilst Cameron Brannagan was absent due to a dead leg.
Juanma came in at left-back for his first competitive start for the U23s, whilst Jordan Williams fully recovered from his latest setback to come in to the base of the midfield.
Kamil Grabara was the sixth and final change, and the Polish goalkeeper had to be alert as early as the sixth minute, when he reacted well to deny Chidozie Awaziem.
Liverpool failed to grab a stronghold in the tie against a strong Porto outfit, who controlled the tempo of the game, but it was the Reds who went closest in the 41st minute.
Harry Wilson has scored 10 goals in 17 starts this season, and the captain blazed over after good attacking play from full-back Connor Randall, a rare moment of opportunity for Beale’s side.
Porto continued their momentum into the second half, and inevitably took the lead five minutes after the restart, with Govea curling a free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.
Despite going a goal down, Liverpool gradually grew back into the game, and 16 minutes later, they were level. Wilson made amends for his earlier chance but providing Lennon, who composed himself before curling an unstoppable strike into the corner of the net for his seventh goal in nine starts.
The Reds brought on Madger Gomes, returning from injury for his first appearance of the season, in search of a late winner.
That almost came in the 88th minute as Wilson was through on goal but his intelligent chip was cleared off the line by the Porto defence and both sides had to settle for a draw.
Liverpool will now focus on Premier League Cup action, and will look to make it two wins from two in the group when they host Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon.
Liverpool U23s: Grabara, Randall, Juanma, Ilori, Sakho, Williams, Wilson, Virtue (M Gomes), Lennon, Grujic, Woodburn (T Gomes).