Liverpool Under 21s made it a weekend to remember for the club as their 3-1 victory over Stoke City meant wins for the 18s, Women and Men.
Barry Lewtas named a strong side at the AXA with James McConnell, Fabian Mrozek, Bobby Clark and Lewis Koumas all returning to youth action having been part of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team squad at Anfield on Saturday.
Welsh attacking ace Koumas wasn’t handed a Premier League debut from the bench in the 3-1 win over Burnley, however, the forward certainly made up for it on a cold afternoon in Kirkby as his two goals were pivotal.
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Liverpool made a positive start to proceedings, with the confident ‘keeper Mrozek highlighting the bravery of Lewtas’ side when controlling a ball out of the sky on his chest before looking to play out from the back.
Despite the strong opening, Stoke took a surprise lead when intricate football around the area released Will Smith who found space for a shot and made no mistake from close range.
Looking for an answer, The Reds dominated possession and often found a way out through the link-up play of Jayden Danns. Exciting winge Kaide Gordon nearly drew level with a well-struck free-kick – won by himself – that went just inches wide.
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Finally, the sustained pressure paid off when Koumas was found in acres of space by an incisive Calum Scanlon pass, turning and driving at the defence before turning his man inside out and firing through the legs of the goalkeeper to level the scores.
Gordon almost gave Liverpool the lead just moments later and shortly before the break the impressive Scanlon saw a goalbound effort tipped over the bar from a tight angle.
The half-time whistle was meant with displeasure as Lewtas’ side successfully dealt with a corner and looked primed to spring a 3v2 counterattack only for the referee to thwart the opportunity.
A short corner routine paid off after the break as Gordon’s cross struck the knee of Amara Nallo and ended up in the bottom corner to give the hosts a well-deserved lead.
Danns almost found a route to goal to continue his fine form in the scoring charts but it wasn’t to be for the frontman as he instead turned provider when he sent Koumas clear of the defence with the 18-year-old Welshman making no mistake in front of goal once again.
Tommy Pilling replaced the workmanlike McConnell before the experienced Jay Spearing entered the fray for Trey Nyoni as Lewtas’ charges saw out nine minutes of stoppage time to earn an impressive three points and make it a dream weekend for all the Reds!