By Scott Taylor
Madger Gomes scored on his first start of the season as Liverpool U23s secured a 2-0 victory over Runcorn in a friendly at the Kirkby Academy on Tuesday evening.
Toni Gomes was given an opportunity up front, and the Portugal U18 youth international opened the scoring in the first half after being played in by Madger Gomes.
He then went from provider to goalscorer as the Spaniard opened his account for the season in his third game and his first start back from injury.
U23s Head Coach Michael Beale made a string of changes from that beat Huddersfield 3-0 in the Premier League Cup giving an opportunity to the fringe players in his squad.
Jake Brimmer, Nathaniel Phillips, Paulo Alves, Kane Lewis and Andy Firth were given rare starts whilst Corey Whelan, Tom Brewitt and Cameron Brannagan also featured in the heavy rain.
However, it was the Gomes’ who combined for the Reds’ opening goal. Phillips laid it off to Madger Gomes, who twisted around his marker before finding Toni Gomes.
The striker then rounded the onrushing goalkeeper with his first touch before composing himself and passing the ball into the empty net to put his side a goal to the good.
Liverpool doubled their lead shortly after as Brimmer intercepted a Runcorn attack, before starting a counter-attack with Brannagan.
The Reds captain advanced up the pitch before feeding Madger Gomes, and after the goalkeeper parried his initial effort, the Spaniard swept home from a tight angle to round off the scoring.
The hosts had a great opportunity to extend their lead moments later, but Brannagan blazed over from the edge of the area as the half ended with Liverpool fully in control.
The onslaught continued in the second period when Brannagan started a move which resulted in Madger Gomes firing narrowly over from 20 yards out.
Beale brought on Jordan Williams, Yan Dhanda and U18s forward Glen McAuley in the second half, and the trio combined but Liverpool had a goal ruled out for offside.
Williams fed Dhanda, who left his marker on the floor before drilling the ball goal-bound. However, McAuley, who has scored eight goals this season, was offside when he poked home.
Liverpool U23s: Firth; Lewis, Whelan (Dhanda 45’), Brewitt, Maguire; Phillips, Alves (Juanma 60’), Brimmer (Williams 60’); M Gomes, T Gomes (McAuley 75’), Brannagan.