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Under-23s begin with 4-0 win at Liverpool

Liverpool 0-4 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Sat 10 August 2019, 16:59|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-23s began the Premier League 2 season with a thumping 4-0 win at Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

Ahead after eight minutes through Kazaiah Sterling, we withstood a couple of opportunities for the hosts before really turning the screw in the second period, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Sterling again – this time from the penalty spot – and Shilow Tracey all on target.

It was our biggest Premier League 2 win since a victory at Reading by the same scoreline in March, 2017, and one which pleased Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett, whose charges are aiming for a positive campaign, having relied on two late-season wins to escape relegation last time around.

Taking on the Reds at their Academy facility in Kirkby, we found an early breakthrough when Dilan Markanday’s cross from the right was touched on by midfielder Jamie Bowden for Sterling to convert.

Rhian Brewster was denied by goalkeeper Brandon Austin at the other end, while Elijah Dixon-Bonner was thwarted by a key intervention from centre-back TJ Eyoma and then headed over Austin’s crossbar as the hosts sought a leveller. Austin later saved again from Curtis Jones.

We scored a crucial second goal on 64 minutes as left-back Tariq Hinds played Oakley-Boothe in behind the Liverpool defence and he blasted home with aplomb. It was 3-0 with 11 minutes remaining as midfielder Paris Maghoma was bundled over in the box and up stepped Sterling to beat goalkeeper Shamal George from the spot. Tracey added the icing on the cake four minutes later, cutting inside and finishing well.

We dominated at times and the shot count, certainly shots on target, was good so overall we deserved to win.

Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett

Key moment

At 1-0, both sides created chances but when Oakley-Boothe smashed home our second goal of the game just under 20 minutes into the second half, Liverpool were dealt a big blow. From there, we went on to secure a commanding victory.

Coach’s view

“It was a very, very good team performance,” purred Burnett afterwards. “For the first 25, 30 minutes it was quite a close contest with both teams having chances but we managed to go in at half-time 1-0 up and probably could have gone in maybe at 2-0 if we’d been a little bit more clinical and a little bit more decisive at times. We came out in the second half and didn’t start particularly well but overall we thoroughly deserved to win with some very, very good individual performances. Collectively we were very good as well.

“We spoke about last season before the game and spoke about the mentality and that we had to win the last two games to survive. We spoke quite openly about that and we’ve shown today that we’re capable of winning. We played a Liverpool team that was full of some very, very good football players. It wasn’t a case of playing an understrength Liverpool team, they were a very strong team with a front three that were particularly strong so all credit to our players. We dominated at times and the shot count, certainly shots on target, was good so overall we deserved to win. The most pleasing thing for me was the level of determination, effort and the work ethic we produced.”

Liverpool 0-4 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Liverpool: George, Williams, Larouci (Gallacher 81), Clayton, Boyes, Chirivella (c), Elliott (Bearne 70), Dixon-Bonner, Brewster (Duncan 70), Jones, Kent. Substitutes (not used): Atherton, Varesanovic.

Spurs: Austin, Okedina (Dinzeyi 87), Hinds, Bowden (A Shashoua 82), Eyoma (c), Lyons-Foster, Markanday (Richards 78), Maghoma, Sterling, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey. Substitutes (not used): De Bie, R Clarke.

Match data

Goals: Spurs – Sterling 8, 79 (pen), Oakley-Boothe 64, Tracey 83.

Yellow cards: Liverpool – Chirivella 78; Spurs – Okedina 11, Bowden 45+1, Maghoma 69.

Venue: The Academy, Kirkby.