It was a frustrating evening for Liverpool U18s as they lost 2-0 in a friendly encounter away to Loughborough University on Wednesday night.
Two outstanding efforts from Luke Trotman and Matthew Crookes were enough to seal the victory for the home side in front of an excellent crowd, as vital funds were raised for the Daniel Wilkinson Foundation.
On a positive note for Neil Critchley, the U18s boss was able to welcome back Herbie Kane after a lengthy absence through injury as he made his comeback in the second half.
After the Liverpool squad were given a guided tour of the facilities during the afternoon, the visit was completed with a match against the Loughborough University side, who play in the Midland League Premier Division.
Once the action got under way, the young Reds started brightly. On five minutes, a great run down the left flank from Liam Millar saw him beat a couple of defenders, but as the striker advanced into the penalty area he was denied by an excellent block from Conor O’Keefe.
Loughborough University then took the lead on 11 minutes through a stunning long-range effort from Trotman that gave Caoimhin Kelleher absolutely no chance.
Curtis Jones and Millar were a real threat for the Reds in the opening period and the only thing missing from the team play was a clinical edge in front of goal.
On 17 minutes, a superb dribble along the right side by Luis Longstaff concluded with an inviting cross, but Millar couldn’t convert under pressure from close range as his effort was cleared away from goal.
Neco Williams was next to send in a fine delivery, this one narrowly missed by the well-placed Glen McAuley.
Rafael Camacho then fired an effort just wide, before the home side made it 2-0 on 59 minutes with another brilliantly-worked goal. A flowing move down the left was finished off in style after an audacious flick from Crookes.
Liverpool U18s: Kelleher (B Williams, 45), N Williams (Sharif, 45), Glennon (Clayton, 80), R Williams, Johnston, Coyle (A Lewis, 45), Longstaff, Jones (Kane, 62), McAuley (Blair, 80), Camacho (Simmonds, 68), Millar (Adekanye, 45).