U23s match reportLiverpool 3-1 Manchester United
Liverpool U23s signed off their Premier League 2 season by beating Manchester United 3-1 at the Academy.
Owen Beck forced the opening goal in the early stages of Sunday’s clash and though the visitors temporarily levelled through Alejandro Garnacho, it was the young Reds’ day.
Rhys Williams restored their lead before the interval and Jack Bearne then assured three points in the second half for Barry Lewtas’ team, who climbed to fourth in the table.
With Pepijn Lijnders and Vitor Matos in attendance in Kirkby, Liverpool took the lead in the sixth minute as a result of Beck’s high press.
The full-back’s charging down of a clearance by United saw the ball strike him and bounce back beyond Radek Vitek into the opposition net.
With the early momentum behind them, the Reds swiftly went after a second goal and Beck came close to creating one when he moved onto Tom Clayton’s pass to the flank and sent in a low cross that was cleared away from the line by Will Fish.
Layton Stewart threatened next with a turn inside the box and finish that the No.9 flashed across the face of goal, but it was United soon celebrating.
The visitors launched a counter-attack with a ball knocked over the top for Garnacho to chase and he coolly placed a dinked effort over Marcelo Pitaluga to level.
The hosts had a golden chance to get back in front on the half-hour as a Tyler Morton shot was handled inside the United area, only for Vitek to produce an excellent save, diving to his right, to deny Leighton Clarkson from the spot.
But Liverpool did bag their second in the 33rd minute.
Clarkson was its creator with a corner delivery from the left-hand side and Williams’ magnificent climb inside the box allowed the centre-back to head home.
The Reds carried the 2-1 lead into the second half but their momentum was checked by an injury to Billy Koumetio in its early stages.
The defender slipped and landed awkwardly as he looked to deal with a ball in behind, and had to be stretchered off as treatment was given.
Koumetio’s replacement, James Balagizi, could have extended their advantage when Conor Bradley overlapped down the right and lifted a cross to the back post, but headed over.
Lewtas’ charges got their third on 64 minutes, though.
Morton won possession from United and threaded a pass into the right channel for Bearne, who picked out the bottom corner with a clinical finish.
Pitaluga was largely untroubled as the contest neared its conclusion, though the Brazilian did make an impressive late stop to deny Noam Emeran and preserve Liverpool’s cushion.
The result increased the U23s’ unbeaten run to 10 games and prepared them nicely for the season’s conclusion: the Lancashire FA Senior Cup final against Burnley on Wednesday night.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga, Bradley, Beck, Williams, Koumetio (Balagizi, 55), Clarkson, Morton, Clayton, Norris, Bearne, Stewart (O’Rourke, 71).
Unused substitutes: Kelly, Wilson.