By Scott Taylor
Rhian Brewster was again on the scoresheet but Liverpool U18s crashed out of the FA Youth Cup at the fourth round stage after a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City.
Tom Dele-Bashiru put the hosts ahead on the half-hour mark before Brewster responded in emphatic fashion moments later.
However, second-half goals from Sadou Diallo and Lukas Nmecha comdemned Neil Critchley’s side to an early exit at the Academy Stadium.
After plenty of investment into their youth academy, it was no surprise that Manchester City started the brighter of the two sides, dominating the early possession.
The first opportunity of the game came in the 29th minute, when the hosts took the lead.
Jadon Sancho’s cross was only partly cleared by the Liverpool defence, and the ball fell to Dele-Bashiru and the midfielder rifled it into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Man City should have doubled their lead four minutes later, but Nmecha’s deflected effort was clawed away by the excellent Kamil Grabara.
This save proved to be a pivotal moment in the half, as in the 35th minute, Liverpool equalised when Okera Simmonds’ low cross was hammered home by Brewster.
City again dominated possession and territory in the second period, but yet again they could not force Grabara into action.
However, the hosts went back in front in the 57th minute when Phil Foden’s corner fell to an unmarked Sadou Diallo, and the defender glanced in into the bottom corner.
The hosts continued to push for another goal to kill the game, with Liverpool going very defensive with five at the back.
There were further chances for Sancho but Grabara was equal to it on both occasions as the Poland U19 international continued to impress in Manchester.
Liverpool brought on Liam Millar and Bobby Adekanye as they searched for a winner, but they were left vulnerable in defence, and were punished with 13 minutes left on the clock.
Duhaney’s ball into the box was perfectly placed between Michel Parker and Conor Masterson and Nmecha timed his run to nod it over the advancing Grabara to seal their progression.
Brahim Diaz almost wrapped up the game in the 92nd minute but Grabara stood tall after a one-on-one with the Spanish midfielder.
City will now face fellow Premier League side Southampton, whilst Liverpool return to league action when they host Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
Liverpool U18s: Grabara; Owens, Parker, Masterson, Johnston, Lewis; Coyle (Millar 72′), Jones; Simmonds (Adekanye 75′), Brewster (Gomes 82′), Dhanda.