Liverpool U18s 7-1 Arsenal U18s – Match Report

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Even the most optimistic Liverpool fan couldn’t have seen this one coming as Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s Under 18 side dismantled their Arsenal counterparts at the AXA Academy. 

Facing the north Londoners for a place in the FA Youth Cup Fifth Round, the mini-Reds were in outstanding form in front of goal and blew away their visitors in what was a finishing clinic on Merseyside. 

Armed with a strong side including the likes of Jayden Danns, Trey Nyoni and Trent Kone-Doherty who have all been involved in U21 action as well as first-team training, Bridge-Wilkinson’s outfit put on a show in the January cold. 


Liverpool edged the early exchanges in what was a lively start to proceedings, with Kone-Doherty and Nyoni at the heart of the attacking play for the hosts. 

The former started off the move that saw the deadlock broken when his fleetfooted dribbling took him inside the penalty area, finding the feet of Danns who, surrounded by defenders, laid the ball neatly in the path of Lewis Koumas who fired the ball home. 

Seemingly transpiring into a basketball match, Arsenal hit back almost immediately as the Reds gave the ball away cheaply twice in quick succession, punished eventually when Ethan Nwaneri curled the ball beyond the helpless Kornel Misciur. 

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Moments later Liverpool survived a major scare as Misciur denied Nwaneri at his feet before the ball ballooned up and somehow Arsenal number nine Chido Obi-Martin could only head the loose ball onto the top of the crossbar. 

Having survived at one end of the pitch, Bridge-Wilkinson would’ve been delighted to see the high press come to fruition as Nyoni stole the ball and found Koumas who tried his luck from range, finding the bottom right corner via a deflection to hand the lead back to his side. 

Just moments later it was a two-goal advantage when Nyoni fired the ball into Koumas once again, this time the Welsh forward turning provider as he set Kone-Doherty clear, leaving the talented winger to beat the ‘keeper at the near post and give Liverpool a deserved 3-1 lead at half time.

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If the first half had at times been an even affair then this was anything but as buoyed by their late double, the Reds were at full tilt Nyoni set the attack underway once again with a long raking pass before Kone-Doherty added the fourth and his second following a well-struck effort from Koumas was denied by the Arsenal stopper. 

Now rampant, Danns, who has been enjoying a superb season so far in front of goal, got involved in the fun as he capitalised on a mistake at the back to roll the ball home from all of 35 yards with his left foot. 5-1 and showing no signs of slowing down!

The Gunners made changes in an attempt to stem the tide but Liverpool were not for stemming as Danns drove forward before being brought down for a free kick in a dangerous area. The 18-year-old picked himself up and nailed a pinpoint effort beyond the outstretched Noah Cooper. 

Now with all three forwards chasing a hat-trick, Bridge-Wilkinson was loathed to ring the changes in attack and his patience was duly rewarded when Koumas – arguably the most deserving – profited from the high press once more and finished with aplomb to round off a brilliant night’s work and secure the match ball.

A proper statement performance from the young Reds, knocking out last year’s finalists and setting up a Fifth Round clash with Swansea City or Fulham at home.

Speaking after the game, Bridge-Wilkinson described the display as a ‘fantastic team performance’…

Marc also said: “The most pleasing thing this morning was the work rate of the front four, five, the whole team really.”



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