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Liverpool 2 Stoke 1

 

We're back in front. We go a little more direct from midfield. Tom Hill finds Leighton Clarkson on the edge of the box, Clarkson flicks the ball back to Hill who takes a touch and finishes well across the visiting keeper.

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Half time - Liverpool 2 Stoke 1

 

The visitors have been the better side in the first half. We've spent a lot of time in our defensive third as Stoke have pressed very high throughout the opening 45.

 

The opener came against the run of play in the early stages when we could barely get out of our own half. The goal obviously settled us down somewhat and we began to grow into the game. Every time we've gone a little more direct we've had a bit of joy getting in behind their back line.

 

Stoke deservedly got level midway through the half and have had numerous corners as they looked to get themselves in front, however, they don't look to great at the back and we capitalised on a sloppy clearance which led to Tom Hill putting us back in front.

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A couple of changes were made at the break with Brookwell and O'Rourke coming on for Balagizi and Quansah. 

 

Tom Hill has moved to right back with Brookwell going into central midfield and O'Rourke going up top with Stewart moving to the right of the 3 in behind the striker.

 

We've started brightly in the second half, forcing a couple of good saves from the visiting keeper.

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Liverpool 2 Stoke 2

 

The visitors are level. A nice dinked finish over Winterbottom after we turned over possession too easily on our right side.

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Liverpool 3 Stoke 2

 

3 minutes or so left in the 90 and we're back in front. Jake Cain plays a long ball over the top from the left side of midfield finding the run of Layton Stewart who lobs the oncoming keeper with a first time volley. Cracking finish and a cracking pass to create the goal.

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Full time - Liverpool 3 Stoke 2

 

We were the better side in the second half and ran out deserved winners.

 

The changes at half time made a positive impact with O'Rourke working his socks off and Brookwell providing more drive from the centre of the park.

 

Really good goal to win the game from Layton Stewart.

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3 minutes ago, dave u said:

The French lad at the back looked good from the bits I seen. Always enjoy watching Jake Cain play too. Big fan of his.

Yep, Koumetio had a solid game. Looks massive for a 16 year old. I thought Ritaccio down the left was good today too, more used to seeing him play in the centre last season, but he's done well wide left today.

 

Agree with Jake Cain, he and Clarkson are fantastic players at this level. They work so well together and have formed a very good partnership in the heart of the midfield.

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Under-23s away to Chelsea, 7 pm:

Kelleher; Hoever, van den Berg, Boyes, Larouci, Dixon-Bonner, Elliott, Kane, Jones, Lewis, Brewster.

Subs: Atherton, Williams, Gallacher, Clayton, Duncan.

 

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Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0

 

The hosts have been the better side and have opened the scoring through Michy Batshuayi. A more direct ball over the top is not dealt with by Van Den Berg who was given a little nudge by Batshuayi. Kelleher comes racing out to try and clear, but Batshuayi is strong enough in the challenge, gets a fortunate break of the ball, before lofting  very composed finish into the back of an empty net.

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Half time - Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0

 

The home side have been the better side and could have had a bigger lead going in to the break. Not because our lads at the back are playing badly, just that Chelsea have seen much more of the ball. Kelleher has made a couple of good saves.

 

Boyes and Van Den Berg have dealt fairly well with Batshuayi, in general. Our full backs have their hands full with Chelsea's wide players who have a lot of pace, and have had to deal with a few too many two on ones as the midfield haven't tracked back well enough at times.

 

We've not been able to get a foothold in the middle of the park. Dixon-Bonner, Lewis and Herbie are struggling to get us going. Elliott and Jones haven't seen enough of the ball, and Brewster is completely isolated up top against 2 big, quick centre backs, including experienced German international Antonio Rudiger.

 

Despite being second best in the first half, we have a couple of really good moments of possession where we've moved the ball really well up until the final pass.

 

If I were to change anything at the break, it would be changing the midfield from 1 holding, 2 forward, to 2 holding, 1 forward, with Dixon-Bonner pushed a little higher to provide some support to Brewster. It would also help Lewis provide better cover for Larouci on the left, as he's having to make up too much ground to support his left back.

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Chelsea 2 Liverpool 0

 

Missed the goal, but Chelsea doubled the lead just moments into the second half. Batshuayi again.

 

They've now just hit the bar too.

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9 minutes ago, Daisy said:

These are meant to be the first team back ups aren't they? 

Oh shut up. Harbinger of doom over here. Get a grip.

 

Chelsea 3 Liverpool 0

 

Jones loses the ball in midfield and it is picked up by Batshuayi who has time and space to pick out the Chelsea number 10 on the left who beats Kane and the retreating Jones before finishing low to Kelleher's right.

 

 

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Full time - Chelsea 3 Liverpool 0

 

A deserved win for the home side. While we didn't play badly, our inexperience told at times and we were punished by a clinical Chelsea side who are very well established at this level and were supplemented with 2 experienced senior internationals on the night.

 

We'll play worse this season and pick up points, and we'll play better and get nothing. It's the nature of the beast at this level.

 

This is all about learning their game for these lads at this level. Every defeat provides an opportunity for these lads to see what they could be doing better and the areas of their game that need to be worked on.

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6 minutes ago, John102 said:

Shipping 7 in 2 games is a tought start. I dont think any of these are anywhere near ready for the first team yet, which isnt meant as a dig at their ability.

It is a tough start. We've played 2 of the better sides at this and other youth levels. Chelsea especially have been very strong at youth level for almost a decade now. 5 Youth Cup wins and 7 out of the last 9 Youth Cup finals is exceptional at this level. 7 of their team tonight have been training and playing alongside each other consistently for the past 5 seasons.

 

Whilst I agree that our lads are not quite ready for the rigours of first team football week in and week out just yet, I don't have any issues with individuals coming in for a game or two if necessary. After all, they'll be surrounded by seasoned internationals when playing for the first team, as opposed to playing alongside a group of inexperienced, yet talented teenagers.

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22 minutes ago, John102 said:

Shipping 7 in 2 games is a tought start. I dont think any of these are anywhere near ready for the first team yet, which isnt meant as a dig at their ability.

The team is very young, the likes of Philips on loan and Johnston going has left us very inexperienced at the back, will be a tough learning curve for our U23 team this season.

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Watched the first half. The goalie was our best player, by a mile. Elliott and Larouci looked lively when they had the ball. Hoever looked classy. The midfield is horrendous; Lewis, Kane and Dixon-Bonner and Lewis won’t make it. Brewster didn’t touch the ball. Curtis Jones seems skilful but a bit of a headless chook. Van den Berg is at least a couple of years away from being ready.

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7 hours ago, viRdjil said:

Watched the first half. The goalie was our best player, by a mile. Elliott and Larouci looked lively when they had the ball. Hoever looked classy. The midfield is horrendous; Lewis, Kane and Dixon-Bonner and Lewis won’t make it. Brewster didn’t touch the ball. Curtis Jones seems skilful but a bit of a headless chook. Van den Berg is at least a couple of years away from being ready.

Bang on.

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Under-18s away to Wolves, 1 p.m., online only :

 

Winterbottom; Hill, Norris, Quansah, Savage, Clarkson, Brookwell, Cain, Ritaccio, Stewart, O’Rourke.

Subs: Kelly, Beck, Corness, Wilson, Balagizi.

 

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