Liverpool’s under-18s were unable to seize their opportunities and they were duly punished by a clinical Man City outfit, on a day where Billy Koumetio made his return.
Liverpool U18s 1-3 Man City U18s
Premier League U18, Kirkby
September 26, 2020
Goals: Mabaya 86′; Sodje 34′, 54′, 68′
The U18s were looking to make it two from two at the start of the new campaign, with Man City the visitors – but they were unable to translate their periods of dominance onto the scoreboard.
The starting XI included a number of highly-rated prospects, with Billy Koumetio injecting valuable minutes into his legs after a minor niggle ruled him out of Liverpool’s League Cup clash at Lincoln.
He was joined by James Balagizi, fresh off the back of signing his first professional contract with Liverpool, and the hat-trick hero from the opening matchday in Layton Stewart, who captained the side.
They started in the image of the first team, with an early high press creating a host of opportunities in the final third – with Stewart, Dominic Corness and summer addition Melkamu Frauendorf at the heart of it all.
But for all of Liverpool’s dominance in both possession and territory, it was City who struck first having sprung a counter-attack on the right flank, with Tai Sodje finishing from close range despite protests from Jarell Quansah for a foul in the area.
A brilliant reflex save to tip the ball over the crossbar from Jakub Ojrzynski would deny City a second in quick succession and help restore a level of composure for the Reds to see the half out.
Half-time: Liverpool U18s 0-1 Man City U18s
The second half continued to see Liverpool take control of possession, with City content to wait for a misstep and their patience was rewarded early in the second.
Koumetio, who would be withdrawn with an hour on the clock, was found wanting in the box as a lapse in concentration saw him miscontrol a pass under the pressure of Sodje, who added the visitors’ second of the afternoon.
With an ever-increasing presence in the first team, the outing will have offered a much-needed run out to dust off the cobwebs for the 17-year-old centre-back.
And with time running out and the young Reds pushing to register on the scoreboard, numbers were committed forward against a well-disciplined City and they sprung to life once more from their own half and, with the bounce of the ball not favouring Liverpool, Sodje would add his third.
Robbie Fowler would watch on as Liverpool looked to mount pressure in the final third, and they were finally rewarded for their efforts as a wayward back pass was cleared off the line before Frauendorf set up Isaac Mabaya from close range.
Liverpool U18s: Ojrzynski; Wilson, Quansah, Koumetio (Jonas 61′), Chambers; Stephenson; Balagizi (Musialowski 82′), Corness, Woltman (Mabaya 65′); Stewart, Frauendorf
Subs not used: Davies, Ennis
Next Match: Blackburn (A) – Premier League U18 – Saturday, October 3, 11am (BST)