Match reportLiverpool U18s beaten by Blackburn in 2023 opener
Liverpool U18s’ first game of 2023 ended in a 3-2 defeat at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds went ahead in the U18s Premier League North contest courtesy of captain Terrence Miles' header, before that drew an equaliser from the spot from Junior Nsangou.
Rovers took a 2-1 lead in the second half with Ben Thirkill's finish, which was quickly cancelled out by a goal from Iwan Roberts.
But the three points were clinched by the visitors in minute 73 through Ari Shaw's conversion from inside the box.
The Reds started the affair brilliantly and took a deserved lead after just nine minutes.
Not long after Cody Pennington had a shot well saved by William Blease, Miles' towering header from a corner did manage to beat the Blackburn goalkeeper.
The lead could've been 2-0 but Roberts suffered an unfortunate slip when through on goal, before Pennington tested Blease once more.
Blackburn levelled in the 15th minute when they were awarded a spot-kick following Francis Gyimah's challenge on Brandon Powell. Luke Hewitson went the right way but Nsangou's penalty was too far in the corner.
Both teams had opportunities to net in the lead-up to half-time, with Liverpool going closest through Tommy Pilling's curling free-kick that struck the crossbar.
The visitors certainly emerged from the break the stronger side.
The Reds needed a trio of good saves from Hewitson to keep the scoreline level, while Miles was in position for a vital block to stop Adam Caddick's effort that looked destined for the back of the net.
But Blackburn finally breached their hosts' defences to take the lead shortly after the hour mark.
Shaw played a neat through ball to his fellow second-half substitute Thirkell, who calmly slotted past Hewitson for a goal that had been coming.
However, that blow sparked a quick response from Liverpool. Pilling registered his second assist of the day when his low cross into the box was met by the sliding finish of Roberts.
It wasn't level for long, though, when Shaw restored Blackburn's lead from close range after good work from George Chmiel on the right touchline.
That effort was enough to seal the victory for Rovers, who survived a late spell of pressure from the Reds.
Liverpool U18s: Hewitson, Gyimah, Lucky (Pitt, 46), Miles, Giblin, Pilling, Pennington (Ahmed, 82), Morrison (Onanuga, 72), Gift, Roberts, Young (Davidson, 72).
Unused substitute: Trueman.