Match reportLiverpool U18s beat Burnley 4-1 at the Academy
Liverpool U18s were good value for a 4-1 victory in their U18 Premier League meeting with Burnley at the Academy on Saturday.
Harvey Blair’s sumptuous strike on the quarter-hour was levelled in the final seconds of the first half by a clinical Sean Etaluku equaliser.
But the home side got back in front soon after the restart, courtesy of a typically instinctive Oakley Cannonier goal, and sealed the win late on through Isaac Mabaya and Melkamu Frauendorf.
Liverpool kicked off in Kirkby looking to banish memories of their frustrating FA Youth Cup elimination last Saturday.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s team made the running in the early stages and had a first sighter when Frauendorf cut in from the right-hand side and sliced his shot from 20 yards well wide.
But the opening goal arrived on 15 minutes and was one of stunning quality.
Blair picked up possession on the left flank and turbo-charged his move towards the box as he ducked past Jack Leckie before opening up his body and planting a rising finish into the top-right corner.
The Reds proceeded to create a series of promising chances to add to that lead, too.
Bobby Clark’s precise pass through the Burnley defence into the left channel married with the forward run of Cannonier, whose prodded effort was blocked at close range by Charlie Casper.
On 34 minutes, Clark was at it again, sending another brilliant ball in behind, this time for Blair. The goalscorer’s first touch opened up a one-on-one but he fired the strike over the crossbar.
Blair’s low hit was next foiled by Casper – and the visitors made Liverpool pay for their missed opportunities in first-half stoppage time.
Tremaine Eastmond’s dribble into the area drew Reds defenders and he served a pass back to Etaluku, who guided a left-footed strike off the far post and in for 1-1.
Parity was short-lived, however, as Liverpool got in front again six minutes into the second half.
Callum Scanlon’s cross from the left wing deflected towards the near post and Cannonier was quickest to react to the circumstances, allowing the No.9 to nudge his side ahead.
The contest settled into a more even rhythm from then on, though the Reds always seemed the likelier to add to the scoresheet.
Blair might have done in the 67th minute but in the latest instalment of his running battle with Casper, the Burnley goalkeeper was equal to his side-footer.
The away team tried to turn the screw in their search for a second leveller as time ticked away, but Liverpool finally put the match to bed in the closing stages.
Blair turned provider on 81 minutes, his scamper down the left flank followed by an excellent outside-of-the-boot cross along the six-yard box that Mabaya met with a composed first-time finish beyond Casper.
James McConnell was then inches away from swerving a 25-yarder into the top corner, but Frauendorf did add a fourth for Bridge-Wilkinson’s charges when he tucked home with the last kick of the day.
Liverpool U18s: Davies, Mabaya, Scanlon, Miles, Chambers, Pilling, Frauendorf, McConnell, Cannonier, Clark, Blair.
Unused substitutes: Lucky, Hewitson, Davidson, Figueroa.