Harry Wilson did his chances of a first-team call-up no harm with a brace for Liverpool U23s as they beat Arsenal 3-2 at Anfield on Monday evening.
In the first game since Michael Beale’s departure as Head Coach, captain Wilson netted a brace whilst Sheyi Ojo scored his first goal since returning from a lengthy injury suffered in pre-season.
Stephy Mavididi also scored twice for Arsenal, who set up a tense finale, but the Reds held out for a win to remain in third in the Premier League 2 table, just three points behind the leaders Everton.
The game was also a special moment for goalkeeper Shamal George, who made his home debut for the U23s whilst Joe Gomez continued his injury comeback with another 45 minutes.
Liverpool U23s: George; Gomez (Whelan 45’), Ilori, Sakho, Maguire; Stewart (Williams), Chirivella (Virtue); Wilson, Brannagan, Ojo; Lennon.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn all missed the game at Anfield, as they were named on the substitute’s bench for the first-team’s clash with West Ham at the same venue just 24 hours previous.
All three of the players featured for the clubs’ U18s last season, but it seems that their presence has not been missed as Neil Critchley’s side romped to a 5-1 victory at Stoke.
Glen McAuley scored yet another brace to take his tally to double figures in his debut season at this level, whilst Curtis Jones opened his account for the U18s in just his second appearance.
George Johnston and Rafael Camacho added goals late on, whilst Critchley gave opportunities to U23s goalkeeper Kamil Grabara as well as U16 defenders Diego Lattie and Anthony Glennon.
Liverpool U18s: Grabara; Lattie, Masterson (Glennon 80’), Johnston, Lewis; Coyle, Jones; Adekanye, Brewster (Camacho 65’), Dhanda (Hunter 75’); McAuley.
Elsewhere, in transfer news, U23s starlet Cameron Brannagan is set to join Bolton Wanderers on loan in January.
Brannagan, 20, has found game time hard to come by this season after the emergence of Woodburn and Ejaria, who, in recent weeks have been the preferred attacking midfielders under Beale.
It looks likely that the midfielder will join the League One side, and it is understood that Brannagan favours a move to Bolton despite interest from Championship strugglers Wigan Athletic.
Written by Scott Taylor