By Scott Taylor
Liam Millar and Glen McAuley were both on target as Liverpool U18s rounded off their regular season with a 2-0 victory over the league leaders Manchester City on Saturday morning.
Millar, who recently returned from the CONCACAF U20s Championships with Canada, put the young Reds ahead in the 13th minute with a cool finish.
McAuley then netted his 15th goal of the season with 15 minutes remaining as Neil Critchley’s side qualify for the play-offs, gaining revenge on the side that knocked them out of the FA Youth Cup.
Liverpool started the much brighter of the two sides, which was unexpected given the sides’ league positions and their head-to-head record, and took the lead in the opening stages.
In front of former Liverpool stars Rob Jones and Steven Gerrard, Neco Williams produced a pin-point ball which was met by Millar, who emphatically finished past Arijanet Muric in the Man City goal.
Critchley’s chargers had the chance to double their advantage moments after going ahead, but on this occasion, Muric stood tall to deny the free-scoring McAuley with a fine save.
The Swiss goalkeeper was then called into action shortly after, producing a smart save to stop goalscorer Millar scored his and his side’s second of the afternoon.
After soaking up the initial pressure, the visitors slowly grew back into the game, with Phil Foden going close on two occasions, with Caoimhin Kelleher producing a notable point-blank save to keep the Reds in front at the interval.
However, the presence of the City attackers was diminished in the second half, and Irish youngster McAuley did put the game beyond doubt in the 75th minute.
Abdi Sharif, playing in an unfamiliar midfield role, produced a well-executed through ball, which McAuley converted first time on his left foot.
There could have been more celebration for Liverpool in the closing stages, with the ever-dangerous George Johnston going close yet again from a set-piece, but the Reds came away with all three points.
Liverpool U18s: Kelleher; N Williams, Masterson, Johnston, Glennon; Coyle, Sharif; Simmonds (Adekanye 66’), Lewis, Millar; McAuley.