Match reportLiverpool U21s draw 2-2 with Man Utd in Premier League 2
Jake Cain and Bobby Clark scored as Liverpool U21s played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Manchester United on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds took the lead during the first half through the outstanding Cain, who also helped to create a number of other fine chances.
But two quick goals after the interval, the second a penalty, put United in front before Clark fired the home side level and almost won it late on.
Liverpool started the Premier League 2 encounter really well and could have been ahead inside five minutes, Layton Stewart narrowly finding the side-netting as he sought the top corner from a tight angle.
They went even closer with just six minutes on the clock, Cain rattling the crossbar with a super strike from 25 yards that had Radek Vitek well beaten in the United goal.
Barry Lewtas’ side were creating lots of space, especially down the left, where full-back Luke Chambers was combining well with James Norris.
For the visitors, Zidan Iqbal caused some problems with a mazy run on 20 minutes, before a tremendous Lee Jonas tackle denied Isak Hansen-Aaroen as he closed in on goal with Liverpool defenders expecting an offside flag that never came.
Cain was pulling lots of strings and turned creator midway through the half, sliding in Stewart but the striker’s clipped effort beat both the goalkeeper and the top of the goal.
Next the midfielder found Melkamu Frauendorf in space, though his low shot lacked the power to beat Vitek, and another clever pass sent Stewart through only for his shot to go just past the post.
The Reds deservedly took the lead on 37 minutes and it was no surprise that it was Cain who made the breakthrough. Clark’s lay-off sat up nicely and Cain fired home from inside the box via a slight deflection – a nice way to celebrate his 21st birthday just a day before.
Fabian Mrozek was needed twice in the closing minutes to see out the half, first denying Alejandro Garnacho one-on-one. The Polish goalkeeper then raced off his line to smother an effort from the advancing Charlie McNeill.
The Reds almost extended their lead just after the break as a fine Norris cross was met by a Stewart volley that was blocked, and Frauendorf’s follow-up was well saved by Vitek.
United levelled on 50 minutes, however. A corner was never properly cleared and Hansen-Aaroen finished tidily when the ball reached him on the edge of the box.
And the visitors soon moved ahead. Dominic Corness was judged to have fouled Hansen-Aaroen in the box and although Mrozek got both hands to McNeill’s penalty he could not keep it out of the net.
The lead lasted just three minutes, though, as Liverpool hit straight back.
Clark’s fine afternoon saw him fouled in the area and he was first to react to turn home the rebound after Stewart’s penalty was saved by Vitek.
A brilliant ball from Cain found Stewart in the box with less than 20 minutes left and the young striker swivelled well but his shot was too close to the goalkeeper as the Reds went in search of a winner.
Luca Stephenson almost provided it with his first touch off the bench, collecting a Stewart pass and striking at goal but just lacking the power to find the net.
Clark looked the man most likely to deliver a decider, creating space with some lovely skill to fire a shot in on Vitek with five minutes left but again the United ’keeper gathered well as both sides were forced to settle for a point.
Liverpool U21s: Mrozek, Mabaya, Chambers, Quansah, Jonas, Corness, Frauendorf (Cannonier, 68), Clark, Stewart (Blair, 86), Cain (Stephenson, 83), Norris.
Unused substitutes: Hughes, Olufunwa.