Match reportLiverpool U21s narrowly beaten away at Man United
A strong Liverpool U21s side finished a busy week with a narrow 2-1 defeat against Manchester United in Premier League 2 on Saturday evening.
After a superb performance to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, Barry Lewtas’s side came to Leigh Sports Village full of confidence.
It was no surprise then when they took the lead within four minutes through Luca Stephenson, but a goal in each half from Joe Hugill gave United the three points.
The Reds opener came from a set-piece, a corner from Dominic Corness only cleared only to the edge of the box. Luca Stephenson took a touch before unleashing a curling shot into the net, the despairing fingertips of goalkeeper Radek Vitek only able to get the slightest of touches.
Those fingertips were needed once again a short time later as Liverpool got in again, this time Mateusz Musialowski firing in a powerful drive from the angle, just turned away for a corner.
The threat was all from the visitors at this point and Stephenson went in search of a second, his deft chip this time just too low to beat Vitek.
United stirred and amid a huge rain and hail storm they had the ball in the net, only for the offside flag to rightly rule out the effort.
The reprieve for Liverpool, however, was short lived. A weak clearance from goalkeeper Harvey Davies was seized upon and, after a goalmouth scramble, Hugill turned the ball home to bring the home side level on 20 minutes.
The setback didn’t stop the visitors continuing to press, Bobby Clark unleashing a fine effort from a narrow angle which Vitek clawed away from the top corner.
It was end to end now and United right winger Noam Emeran inexplicably decided to pass across goal when he had only Davies to beat, spurning a golden chance to give the hosts the lead.
Omari Forson fired the last big chance of the half well over Davies’ bar to leave it level at the break.
Liverpool started the second half in very strong fashion, keeping the ball and probing the United defence.
A fine run from Stephenson saw him drop off a clever backheel to Melkamu Frauendorf but his goal-bound shot was blocked for a corner. Lee Jonas met the delivery with a header he will feel should have brought a second goal for the Reds rather than clearing the bar.
United responded and it needed a superb tackle from Jarell Quansah to deny substitute Matio Mejia after he latched onto a ball over the top.
The Reds made a change, too, with Harvey Blair brought on in attack, and his dangerous run almost brought an opening for Clark but his shot was blocked out.
Stephenson was clattered by goalkeeper Vitek but the referee deemed it a foul by the attacker rather than a possible penalty. And within seconds, United were ahead – Hugill tapping in his second after a break down the right.
A dozen minutes remained and the Reds went in search of a leveller. The best chance fell to Frauendorf, who blazed over from a great position after Stephenson’s clever pass, but the three points remained with the home side.
Liverpool U21s: Davies, Jonas, Chambers, Quansah, Koumetio, Corness, Frauendorf, Stephenson, Musialowski (Blair, 68), Clark, Norris.
Unused substitutes: Kelly, Olufunwa, Miles, Pilling.