Match reportU21s friendly: Liverpool win nine-goal thriller against Leeds
Liverpool U21s secured their first win of pre-season in incredible fashion as Layton Stewart's goal earned a 5-4 result against Leeds United on Saturday.
The Kirkby Academy was the venue for the young Reds’ third friendly outing this summer, following a draw with Caernarfon Town and defeat at Wigan Athletic.
It was evident the game was going to be a thriller from the earliest stages and there was a goal scored apiece within the first 12 minutes.
The visitors took the lead when Mateo Fernandez got in down the right-hand side and placed his finish into the bottom corner, but Liverpool responded swiftly.
Fidel O’Rourke made ground along the flank and though Oakley Cannonier’s attempt to convert his cross was blocked, Mateusz Musialowski was there on the follow-up to beat the goalkeeper and equalise.
In the ascendancy, the Reds repeatedly went close again; Harvey Blair was thwarted in a one-on-one, Luca Stephenson was denied by the Leeds ’keeper and O’Rourke’s free header was saved too.
And, on 25 minutes, Leeds struck instead. A rapid counter-attack was completed by Sean McGurk to put the away team in front for a second time.
By now it was blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stuff and Cannonier had a penalty kick saved on the half-hour mark having been brought down inside the box himself.
Musialowski had a 25-yard effort pushed onto the crossbar before Liverpool did level, with Blair forcing the ball into the net from O’Rourke’s latest delivery.
But for all the hosts’ chances, Leeds took a third lead into the interval as McGurk once more found a way in behind and kept his cool to finish.
The pace of the game – and the goals – continued into the second half and Musialowski restored parity seven minutes after the restart with a jinking run and strike.
O’Rourke was the architect of Barry Lewtas’ Reds getting in front for the first time, the forward releasing Jack Bearne and then meeting the subsequent cross to place a header home.
Leeds were not done, though, and they made it 4-4 with 20 minutes remaining. Keenan Carole’s strong run into the area was halted by a Dominic Corness tackle, but Fernandez was on hand to fire in the loose ball.
Yet the final word went to Liverpool and Stewart, the striker fully capitalising with the winner when Bearne carried the ball around the ’keeper and teed up his teammate.