AcademyU21s match report: Lewis Koumas double helps Liverpool see off Stoke
A double from Lewis Koumas helped Liverpool earn a 3-1 victory over Stoke City in Premier League 2 on Sunday afternoon.
A goal in either half from Koumas alongside an effort from Amara Nallo was enough to overcome the visiting Potters in Kirkby.
The Reds were the first to threaten on 10 minutes after a quiet start to the contest at the Academy.
Jayden Danns charged down a clearance from goalkeeper Blondy Noukeu, which allowed Bobby Clark in on the right, though the stopper recovered brilliantly to deny Liverpool.
The save proved decisive moments later as Stoke took the lead through Will Smith, with the midfielder breaking the offside trap to cut past Carter Pinnington and fire home.
Barry Lewtas’ charges responded through James McConnell, as he saw a shot well saved by Noukeu, ahead of Kaide Gordon curling a free-kick inches over the bar.
Calum Scanlon also proved a nuisance for Stoke on the left flank, firing in a low cross for Danns, before Koumas saw a follow-up shot saved.
Ten minutes ahead of the interval, though, Koumas wasn’t to be denied in his attempts to level.
After being fed into the box by Scanlon, the attacker beat his defender on the outside to drill a brilliant low shot into the bottom corner of the net and restore parity.
Both Gordon and Scanlon were again denied superbly by the visiting goalkeeper ahead of the half-time break as the teams were left all square.
But it took Liverpool just four minutes of the second half to get the goal that put them ahead for the first time.
Nallo was the player on hand and in the right place at the right time to turn home a Gordon cross following a short corner routine on the left side.
Then, with 25 minutes remaining, the Reds were in command, finding a third goal and Koumas’ second of the afternoon, as he produced another calm finish under pressure from a Danns ball forward.
In the closing stages, home goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek made a superb save to halt the visitors finding a late foothold in the game.
The Reds stopper brilliantly kept out a close-range Tom Sparrow shot at the back post to preserve his team’s two-goal cushion inside the final 10 minutes.
Earlier, McConnell had almost scored another following a surging run of his own from midfield, though his eventual effort was blocked well by the retreating Stoke defence.
Mrozek, Miles, Scanlon, Pinnington, Nallo, McConnell (Pilling, 72), Gordon (Osborne, 90+9), Nyoni (Spearing, 90), Danns, Clark (Giblin, 90+9), Koumas.
Unused sub: O. Kelly.
Liverpool are next in action on their travels when they make the trip to face Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon, with the game scheduled for a 1pm GMT kick-off.