Neil Critchley was delighted to see Liverpool U23s emulate the first team and grab a late winner during Monday night's 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in Premier League 2.

With the game looking set to end in a draw, Jake Cain produced a brilliant stoppage-time strike to give the young Reds the three points at St George’s Park.

Critchley fielded eight players who started the FA Cup tie with Shrewsbury Town at Anfield, including the likes of captain Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Pedro Chirivella.

Joe Hardy gave Liverpool the lead, only for Wolves to draw level from the penalty spot before Cain’s late heroics.

Read on for Critchley’s thoughts on a hard-fought win…

On whether it was a deserved victory for his side…

We probably just about deserved it on the balance of play over the 90 minutes. The message to the players at half-time was we have to find a way of winning. It’s an important habit to develop at this age. I didn’t think we were at our best all evening and you could see we haven’t played for a couple of weeks. I think this was a difficult game off the back of the Shrewsbury game. I would sum the game up by saying it was slightly indifferent but I'm also pleased the boys found a way to win.

On the importance of the players staying hungry…

We did that in spells. In other little moments in the game we could have done a lot better. I thought there was a lot of situations where our decision making and our quality could have been better and we could have been more decisive around the box. I thought we started the second half well and probably our worst part of the game was when they equalised. After that we lost control of the game and it became a bit of a basketball game which probably suited them. I also thought we would get a chance near the end of the game and it was whether we would take it or not. Fair play to Jake, it was a really good strike from the edge of the box.

LFCTV GO: Watch the goals

On a good sign of winning despite not being at their best…

We’ve had some really good moments in the game and played some really good football as well. Veet [Vitezslav Jaros] had very little to do all evening and I was really pleased to have him back. I thought he was really calm and assured playing it out from the back. They hit the outside of the post near the end but that was about it. We dominated the game but we probably just didn’t do enough with our possession in the final third, maybe taking too many touches. When you are 1-0 up you always risk giving them a counter-attacking moment and that’s what happened. We responded well and we won the game but we could have done better overall.

On the way Hardy has settled into the club…

Joe is a terrific boy to work with, really great to work with on the training pitch. He has settled into the group really well and his goal typified him tonight. That was what you call a proper goalscorer’s goal. It’s a two-yard tap-in but I love them goals, it’s a proper centre-forward’s goal, getting right in there. He had to make up a lot of ground and I thought Tony Gallacher did fantastically well to create that for him. Joe is a goalscorer and he will be made up with that.

On the joy of working with these players every day on the training field…

I enjoy every day at Liverpool and it’s a privilege and an honour to be at this club. To work with this group of players and the staff I have, I’m privileged and I am proud to be associated with this group of boys. I was just really pleased they got the three points.

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