Liverpool 4-2 Spurs (PL2)
Report from Anfield
22 September 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
It was a miserable night all round at Anfield on Friday as our Under-23s became the latest victims of Liverpool's Premier League 2 crusade.
The Reds, who named a strong side including ex-Hull City loanee Lazar Markovic and Wales international Ben Woodburn, came into the game with a 100 per cent record in the competition and immediately set about maintaining that standard, taking the lead inside the first minute through Harry Wilson and never looking back on a wet and windy night on Merseyside.
Despite being second best for much of the first half, we clawed our way back from 2-0 down to draw level through Marcus Edwards' penalty and an eye-catching strike from Christian Maghoma, but Liverpool's early superiority was underlined when Wilson completed his hat-trick before the half was out.
Rhian Brewster chipped Brandon Austin five minutes after the break to effectively put the game beyond us, although we refused to give in. Kazaiah Sterling fired straight at goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher when he seemed destined to pull one back while substitute George Marsh combined with Edwards to produce some tidy play around the edges of the box in the latter stages, but the Reds stood firm to seal another win.
Goal: Liverpool 1-0 Spurs - Harry Wilson - 1min
It was a disastrous start and we fell behind inside 30 seconds as the ball was played back to Maghoma, his header was more up-and-under than away and Wilson stooped to angle a header over goalkeeper Austin and under the crossbar.
Goal: Liverpool 2-0 Spurs - Harry Wilson - 16mins
We were five yards off Liverpool's play in the opening exchanges as they controlled proceedings and found a couple of openings with long balls forwards between the centre-halves. From the first one, Ovie Ejaria picked out Brewster who saw his first shot palmed out one-on-one by Austin before inexplicably missing the target on the rebound. But three minutes later it was 2-0 as Lloyd Jones clipped one forward from the back, Markovic brought it down but, marked by Jaden Brown, he laid off for Wilson to strike low across the turf and into the bottom corner.
Goal: Liverpool 2-1 Spurs - Marcus Edwards (Penalty) - 20mins
A lifeline came our way on 20 minutes when Sterling went to ground under Jones' challenge in Liverpool's area and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Edwards to blast into the top corner.
Above: Lazar Markovic challenges Kazaiah Sterling.
Goal: Liverpool 2-2 Spurs - Christian Maghoma - 35mins
The Reds were untroubled by the goal and Luke Amos had to slide in from behind to ensure Wilson's shot was steered over the top, while Brewster rattled the bar from 16 yards. But after a stoppage in play following a scuffle on half-way, we snapped into action quickest and Keanan Bennetts tricked his way between two defenders on the left with the ball breaking for centre-half Maghoma to produce a finish most strikers would be proud of, curling beautifully into the top corner to silence the Anfield crowd.
Goal: Liverpool 3-2 Spurs - Harry Wilson - 44mins
The equaliser seemed to throw the hosts off-guard as Sterling's shot was blocked by goalkeeper Kelleher with his left foot, but it proved to only be a momentary lapse as once more the Reds had a spell dictating the tempo. Wilson duly completed his treble on 44 minutes when he exchanged passes with Woodburn in the box and curled beyond Austin.
Goal: Liverpool 4-2 Spurs - Rhian Brewster - 50mins
The Reds dealt us another big blow with a fourth goal shortly after half-time. Austin made a good low reaction save from Woodburn from the right side of the area but he was caught off his line when a long ball was played forward on 50 minutes and Brewster guided it over him into the empty net.
Save: Kelleher denies Sterling - 79mins
To the players' credit, we didn't fold as the rain worsened and if anything, we looked the better side in the closing stages. Pritchard drilled over after Brown won the ball high up the pitch, but our big chance to spark a comeback came and went with 11 minutes to go. Edwards slipped the ball through for Sterling in the left channel of the area but with just the keeper to beat, the young striker drilled straight at him. The last chance went to Liverpool a minute from time, but Brewster glanced wide.
Coach Wayne Burnett said
“We gave Liverpool some very good opportunities through our lack of concentration at times, our incorrect decisions and we gave them two goals. When you give any team two goals, it’s very difficult to come back but we showed excellent character, came back to 2-2 and started to get a foothold in the game. We conceded just before half-time, though, and that was disappointing. Some of our play was a little naive and we have to learn from that. I expected us to make better decisions on and off the ball, in the first half we didn’t and we got punished for it.
“At 4-2 down we never stopped competing, never stopped running and never stopped working. We had three or four decent chances, with about 10 minutes to go we had an excellent chance, could have made it 4-3 and then anything can happened but the players kept going which we expect, although we just fell a little bit short today with our decision-making with and without the ball.”
Liverpool: Kelleher, Virtue, Whelan (c), Phillips, Jones, Grujic, Wilson, Woodburn (Dhanda 79), Brewster, Ejaria, Markovic (Brannagan 63). Substitutes (not used): Masterson, Johnston, Atherton (GK).
Spurs: Austin, Eyoma, Brown, Amos, C Maghoma, Tanganga, Edwards, Duncan (Marsh 28), Sterling, Pritchard (c, S Shashoua 74), Bennetts (Tracey 61). Substitutes (not used): Loft, Whiteman (GK).
Goals: Liverpool - Wilson 1, 16, 44, Brewster 50; Spurs - Edwards 20 (pen), Maghoma 35.
Yellow cards: Liverpool - Brewster 34, Phillips 54, Wilson 81; Spurs - Tanganga 33, Amos 52.
Referee: Daniel Middleton.
We don't have another Premier League 2 fixture until mid-October but on Tuesday afternoon, many of the younger members of this group will hope to feature in our second UEFA Youth League group stage match away to APOEL Under-19s in Cyprus, where we'll look to build on a fantastic 4-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund last time out, kick-off 2pm UK time (4pm local). We'll then face our second match in the Checkatrade Trophy at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday 3 October, kick-off 7.45pm.