Match reportLFC U23s beaten by Leeds at Elland Road
Liverpool U23s were beaten 3-0 by Leeds United in Monday night's Premier League 2 clash under the Elland Road lights.
A first-half strike by Jack Jenkins was just reward for the home side’s ascendancy and though the young Reds were on top for an extended spell after the interval, late penalties from Crysencio Summerville and Max Dean secured the win in front of a crowd of around 10,000.
Leeds could have opened the scoring within 40 seconds of kick-off.
Rhys Williams’ hesitation as a long pass bounced forward allowed Summerville to seize on the loose ball and fire off a shot that Marcelo Pitaluga reacted well to push away.
The Liverpool goalkeeper next had to carefully handle an Archie Gray free-kick that was on course for the bottom left corner, while Leighton Clarkson saw a set-piece effort of his own deflect just wide.
An exquisite piece of skill by Tyler Morton almost led to a breakthrough for the Reds at the midway point of the half.
The midfielder controlled a lofted pass towards the box with a backheel touch that took Jenkins out of the game, but as he waited to pick his spot the eventual strike was blocked by a recovering defender.
And Leeds instead got in front in the 27th minute.
Summerville, the hosts’ most persistent threat all night, cut inside from his right-flank role and drew a save from Pitaluga, with Jenkins quickest to react to guide the rebound into the net.
Billy Koumetio sent in a skidding shot from fully 25 yards that Kristoffer Klaesson gloved away, before the Liverpool centre-back’s misplaced pass was cut out by Amari Miller, who dragged his effort wide.
The Reds were perhaps relieved to get into the break with the deficit only one, not least when Williams had to make a crucial stoppage-time intervention to stop Dean from converting Summerville’s cross.
There was much greater purpose to Liverpool’s attacking play from the outset of a second half that they largely dominated.
Kaide Gordon clipped over the left upright three minutes after the restart, following strong running infield by Owen Beck, and the No.7 then sliced wide of the right post.
The second of those chances had been created by a weave through the middle from James Balagizi, an increasingly influential facet in the ebb and flow.
Still, Leeds were close to scoring a second before the hour mark, Dean swerving his finish just wide when Summerville again caused concern with his direct dribbling at the Reds defence.
Koumetio almost produced a stunning solo goal, the centre-back gliding forward past a series of challenges, only to pull his 20-yarder harmlessly off target in the end.
An equaliser seemed likely to come, but the game turned in the closing stages.
On 79 minutes, Leeds sprung a counter, Dean’s driven pass releasing Summerville to burst at goal. He went down under the attention of Beck, with the referee pointing to the spot and showing the Liverpool man a red card.
Summerville buried his kick inside the left post and Dean found the same corner from a second penalty three minutes from the end after Clarkson’s rash challenge on Summerville.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga, Bradley (Quansah, 84), Beck, Williams, Koumetio, Clarkson, Gordon, Morton, Woltman (O’Rourke, 61), Balagizi, Norris (Bearne, 74).
Unused substitutes: Clayton, Kelly.