???️ Liverpool U19s vs Maribor U19s – Match Report

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Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool under 19s remained top of their UEFA Youth League Group E after a comfortable win against Maribor at Prenton Park today. It was Maribor who had the first chance of the game when Kukovec Nino was slotted in between the two centre-backs and was put one-on-one with the Kamil Grabara. However, he scuffed his shot and the opportunity went begging. The Reds went ahead inside 3 minutes when left midfielder Curtis Jones made a sharp run infield from the left-hand side and saw his shot take a slight deflection to end up in the bottom left corner. From there, Liverpool were already in control, and after Ben Woodburn scored a penalty to put them two up after 11 minutes, it looked like a long afternoon was ahead for Maribor. However, despite Liverpool looking solid and totally comfortable throughout, they never really hit top gear. Centre-forward Bobby Adekanye could’ve had a number of goals but failed to bury his chances. It wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that Liverpool managed to back their third, through substitute Glen McAuley. Gerrard wasn’t too dishearted by this. Hearing him talk after the game, he said: “We put them to the sword, if you like. I think if we were a little bit sharper and a bit more clever in the final third, we could’ve got more goals out of the game. But before the game I’ve asked them for a clean sheet, a strong performance and for them to take a foothold in the group and they’ve delivered, so I can’t be too harsh on them.” Liverpool were set up with a 3-4-3 formation with the three centre backs of Conor Masterson, Rhys Williams and George Johnstone supported wing-backs Edvard Sandvik Tagseth and Rafael Camacho. Adam Lewis had picked up a knock, calling for Tagseth to be played out in a left-side role. Gerrard explained how the formation choice was designed to suit the personnel available. Both wing backs did a sufficient job at the back and provided great support going forward, particularly Camacho on the right, who had a good opportunity not long after half time, his tight-angled shot wasn’t far away from finding its way into the top corner. One of the most eye-catching performances of the afternoon was by far that of captain Ben Woodburn, who has spent his season so far playing at various levels within the club. Playing in centre-midfield with Herbie Kane, Woodburn looked head and shoulders better than the rest. He was at the heart of everything Liverpool put together and tucked away the penalty with a cool head, too. He and Curtis Jones were the stand-out players. Both are looking incredibly sharp and exciting to watch. After Sevilla and Spartak Moscow drew 3-3 today, Gerrard’s side are 4 points clear at the top of Group E, and with just two games to go until the group stage concludes, are in a very promising position to make it through to the next round.   By Ben Kelly  
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