By Scott Taylor
Rhian Brewster scored twice as Liverpool U18s returned to winning ways after three consecutive draws by beating Middlesbrough 2-1 at the Kirkby Academy on Saturday afternoon.
Brewster, 16, netted his seventh goal in all competitions for Neil Critchley’s side in just his seventh start before Jack Lambert equalised for the hosts on the half-hour mark.
The England U17 youngster then won it for his side in the 88th minute, as Critchley gave Shamal George his second start in goal since returning from injury whilst Curtis Jones made his U18s debut.
The Liverpool Head Coach made three changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Blackburn last Saturday, with Diego Lattie making his first start in defence, with Jones and George Johnston also coming in.
It was the Reds that started brightly, with left-back Adam Lewis bursting forward before cutting inside but his effort flew off target.
In the 12th minute, the Reds were ahead with Brewster pouncing on the loose ball for his sixth goal of the season after Glen McAuley’s shot was blocked following a knock-down from Yan Dhanda.
The Reds suffered a taste of their own medicine less than 20 minutes later, as this time the Liverpool defence failed to react to the ball first which allowed Lambert to poke beyond George in the Liverpool goal.
Adekanye played in Dhanda for the move that started the opening goal, and the former Barcelona man should have done better as his individual move flew just over as the opening period ended all-square.
Liverpool increased their pressure in the second period. Brewster went moments away from adding a second as his shot was cleared off the line before Jones also had a debut to remember but his shot smashed off the post.
Cometh the hour and cometh the man, and as time was running up on what would have been a frustrating draw, Brewster’s fine season continued as he scored the winner with just two minutes remaining.
McAuley went close but Brewster fired in at the second attempt as the young Reds made it nine games unbeaten in all competitions and haven’t lost since September.
Liverpool stay fourth in the Premier League, four points off the league leaders Manchester City and will look to close the gap when they travel to ninth-placed Stoke City next Saturday morning.
Liverpool U18s: George; Lattie, Masterson, Johnston, Lewis; Coyle, Jones; Dhanda, Brewster, Adekanye; McAuley (Simmonds 92’).