It was another tie week for Liverpool U23s ahead of a huge week in their season, whilst the U19s progress in Europe with a win over their arch-rivals.
Ben Woodburn and Rafael Camacho were on target as Liverpool U19s advanced to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Youth League with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Prenton Park.
Woodburn opened the scoring in dominant opening 15 minutes for Steven Gerrard’s side, before Camacho came off the bench to seal the win late on, and the Reds will now face Manchester City.
Liverpool U19s: Grabara, N Williams, Masterson, Johnston, Lewis, Dixon-Bonner, Kane, Jones, Woodburn (McAuley), Adekanye (Camacho), Millar (Clayton).
After the victory, Gerrard couldn’t hide his delight at beating Liverpool’s arch-rivals, and was full of praise for his players, who showed a performance worthy of a senior side on Wednesday afternoon.
He told liverpoolfc.com: “There were some superb individual performances, but it’s important to create a team and a squad.”
“I’m proud of the lads because we’ve given them a lot of information and messages and they’ve taken it in, soaked it up, and put in such a mature performance.”
“I think it’d be unfair to criticise the players in any way today because they’ve carried out a game plan so superbly. They’ve executed in perfectly.”
Just days before the victory at Prenton Park, captain Woodburn was praised by first-team manager Jürgen Klopp, who quoted that it is becoming ‘more difficult’ to leave him out of matchday squads.
Klopp added: “Ben Woodburn makes steps and is really close to everything. It’s difficult, it’s getting more and more difficult, but that’s good – very good for us of course.”
Most of the U19s players had featured for the U23s earlier in the week, as the Premier League 2 leaders were edged out to a 1-0 defeat against West Ham at the Kirkby Academy.
Josh Park’s third minute strike was enough to seal all three points for the Londoners against a youthful Reds team which included U18 regulars Neco Williams and Elijah Dixon-Bonner.
Liverpool U23s: Kelleher, N. Williams, Gallacher, Masterson, Johnston, Dixon-Bonner (Adekanye, 63), Lewis (McAuley, 81), Kane, Millar (Camacho, 70), Jones, Dhanda.
Yan Dhanda played all 90 minutes in the season and has relished the chance to play for the U23s this season after playing 13 times since making the step up from the U18s at the start of the season.
He told liverpoolfc.com: “I’m enjoying it. It’s a difficult step up from the U18s because it’s a lot more physical and you find yourselves playing against the senior players as well.”
After the first-team secured a convincing win over Porto in the Champions League last week, the U23s will face the Portuguese giants in the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup.
The clash will be played at Prenton Park on Wednesday 28 February, with it being a 7pm kick-off, whilst their Premier League Cup decider with Stoke City has been moved to Sunday 25 Februrary.