'Owen Beck was fantastic, he is a real consistent performer for us'

U23s reaction'Owen Beck was fantastic, he is a real consistent performer for us'

By Steve Hunter


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Barry Lewtas singled out Owen Beck for high praise after his outstanding display during Liverpool U23s' 1-0 win over Derby County in Premier League 2.

The 19-year-old was a constant threat down the left flank, and it was his cross that led to the only goal of Monday's game when the ball was turned into his own net by Eiran Cashin.

Beck is one of seven Academy graduates to have made a senior debut in 2021-22, and a return to winning ways for the U23s was a perfect end to a great weekend after many youngsters featured in the Emirates FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town the previous day.

Read on as U23s coach Lewtas reflects on a brilliant few days for the Academy, Beck's performance, the win over Derby and more...

U23s highlights: Derby 0-1 Liverpool

On a great way to start 2022…

It was. For us, it started on Sunday with a number of Academy boys getting an opportunity against Shrewsbury Town, which I’ve said time and time again is the job and that’s what we are here for. We were able to give a number of other boys an opportunity at U23s level on Monday so it was a real positive way to start the year.

On Beck’s display…

I thought Owen was fantastic. The progress he has made over his time at the Academy, but certainly the last couple of years, is a credit to him with the work he puts in [and] how coachable he is because he listens and takes on board the information we give him. He has become a real consistent performer for us and in my opinion he was the standout player against Derby. In fairness to him I think those levels have been consistent for some time now so I’m really pleased for Owen and really pleased with him as well.

On the link-up with James Norris for the goal…

It was a great bit of play. They complement each other quite well. James is a versatile player who has played a lot of his games at left-back but I thought him, Melkamu Frauendorf and Owen complemented each other quite well both in and out of possession. The goal came from a fantastic cross from Owen and it’s one that will always cause problems for defenders when they are facing their own goal. We had a couple of efforts cleared off the line and we were pushing to score goals. We created opportunities and maybe that was the kind of fortune that we needed.

On Frauendorf and Isaac Mabaya making their Premier League 2 debuts…

It’s a big step up. Isaac is a first-year scholar so to step up the way he did against an experienced Derby team is a real credit to him. I thought he acquitted himself really well and I was really pleased with him. Mel obviously is a little bit more senior than Isaac and I thought he was excellent. He had such a high the day before, coming on at Anfield to play for the first team, and that is a big emotional moment, it really is. For some boys it can drain them having to play the day after for the U23s, but to perform the way he did he was excellent against a good opponent. He dribbled, he ran at them, he was positive and brave and out of possession his pressing was excellent. In those moments when we pressed - Mel, James and Jack Bearne in particular, they led what we wanted to do.

On the return to action of Leighton Clarkson after his loan at Blackburn Rovers…

It was good to have Leighton back. He has had a really good experience out on loan, his first loan. There was an opportunity for him to play for us and he needed those minutes. We all know what Leighton is capable of doing and I thought in moments during the game we relied on him. He put his foot on the ball, got a bit of control and helped us build from the back. It’s nice to have Leighton back around. It seems crazy to say he’s one of the senior players we’ve got and he’s only 20.

On the lads digging deep to see out the win with captain Tom Clayton an influential figure at the back…

I said to our goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga after the game that it was probably the best we’ve protected him. During his time with us he has shown how good he is coming for crosses, he’s made some big saves, but it was a quiet night for him, which I’m pleased about. We defended high up the pitch extremely well. Derby are a good team but I thought we defended really well. In the second half they went a bit more direct on us but Tom and Billy Koumetio were really good. That was important because this season we were 2-0 up at Blackburn and they came back to get a draw, we were 3-1 up at Chelsea only to concede late goals and lose 4-3. There have been a lot of games this season when we should have taken more than what we’ve got from them so it was important we were able to dig deep and see the game through. We did that quite well and Tom marshalled the backline and the team really well.

On Kaide Gordon netting in front of the Kop to become Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer in the FA Cup…

That was a fantastic moment. I’m really pleased for Kaide. He took it really well and he has got that threat when the ball is on his left side. He had a shot earlier when he nearly scored. It was fantastic to see Conor Bradley put the ball in and then Kaide scored. Seeing so many Academy players out there is fantastic for us and fantastic for the club. I say this time and time again but we are extremely fortunate that we have a first-team manager and his staff who are so supportive of our Academy players with the trust they put in them.

On Elijah Dixon-Bonner making his first senior start and coming close to scoring…

That was a great moment for Elijah and he was unlucky not to score. It was a fantastic save. Fair play to Elijah, when he moved a little bit wider I thought he was a real threat. He puts a lot of work in after training on his finishing.

Inside Anfield: Liverpool 4-1 Shrewsbury

On Saturday’s home meeting with Everton in Premier League 2…

[It will be] very similar to what we faced against Derby. We said to the boys, 'Derby won’t disappoint you'; we know what they are about and what they were going to bring. Everton are the same. We know exactly what we are coming up against and that is a good side. This will be a real challenge for us but it’s one that we are really looking forward to. We know what qualities we have and what we need to do to be the best version of ourselves. It’s about us turning up and performing, but derbies are always challenging and tough games. For us, it’s a really exciting time. We have got a really youthful team at U23s level this season and what that brings is enthusiasm because the boys are desperate to play and impress. Seeing some of the boys getting an opportunity at first-team level certainly motivates the other lads, and I’m sure we will be ready for the difficult challenge Everton will pose us.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.