Whilst Jurgen Klopp’s senior side continue to struggle, there are no such worries for Liverpool’s under-23 side on this evidence.
Mick Garrity’s team – playing in front of nearly 1500 spectators at Anfield – fell two goals behind but fought back admirably, and with a style and dynamism not seen on the famous turf since December, with the senior side desperately out of form.
Marcus Edwards opened the scoring for the away side on 18 minutes. The ball fell at his feet when an attempted cross from Kyle Walker-Peters was closed down, and he finished well past goalkeeper Kamil Grabara with his left foot.
It would, and should, have been two-nil had it not been for some excellent play from Joe Gomez. His centre back partner for the day Corey Whelan – getting an opportunity in the absence of the departed Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori, who have played for the under-23’s most of the season –gave the ball away cheaply, but Gomez recovered very well for him, and played the ball out of danger.
Seven minutes later, Tottenham did find themselves two-nil to the good. Joe Gomez, who himself made a smattering of errors throughout, squandered possession on this occasion, allowing Nathan Oduwa to feed the ball to Shilow Tracey. His shot was cleared before Will Miller bundled the ball across the line at the Kop end. He will certainly claim it, even if it might have been an own-goal.
Liverpool’s response came very quickly. Within a minute of the restart, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has been very impressive for the first team when called upon this season, broke forward into the area, before being brought down. The referee took his time to make a decision, but in the end pointed to the spot.
Harry Wilson, Liverpool’s captain and top scorer, put away the penalty, rifling the ball into the bottom right-hand corner expertly. The goalkeeper went the wrong way, but would never have got close to it anyway.
At half-time, the score was 1-2, with the game very even. However, in the second period, Liverpool put their foot down and accelerated.
Grabara in goal hardly touched the ball as Liverpool’s attackers took control. Sheyi Ojo showed quality time and time again; with the first team’s current lack of width and speed, he could be someone who breaks into the main side sooner rather than later.
Two minutes into the second half, and it was Ojo who scored a brilliant individual goal, cutting in off the right onto his left foot, and curling the ball into the far corner from an acute angle. It was a finish reminiscent of the goal he scored against Exeter in the FA Cup last January.
Corey Whelan, Harry Wilson and Conor Randall all came close as Liverpool pressed for a winner. Ojo pressed intelligently from the front, and Ben Woodburn, playing as a central midfielder, showed superb touches and quick feet.
The goal finally came on 82 minutes. A cross came in, and defensive midfielder Kevin Stewart, another who has featured multiple times for the first team, headed in from ten yards.
Liverpool fully deserved the win, dominating the ball, and creating chances, particularly in the second half. Tottenham were decent for large periods, but ultimately were penned back by some excellent attacking play.
Next up for Liverpool’s under-23’s is Huddersfield away; the first team welcome a Tottenham team once again to Anfield next Saturday.
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