Sunday, March 13, 2011

Liverpool youngsters lose out to Manchester United in FA Youth Cup

Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup today as Manchester United came back from two goals behind to win 3-2 at Anfield in a game marred by indiscipline from both sides.

Reds striker Adam Morgan fired in from close range either side of half-time to give the Reds a two goal advantage before a second-half penalty from Laurel Cole and a brace by Ravel Morrison gave United the win they needed to progress to the semi-finals.

Steven Sama gave away the penalty just shy of the 60th minute and was sent off having been adjudged to have denied a goal scoring opportunity. United’s Paul Pogba was then sent-off for a foul penalty and continued arguments with the referee.

Eventually the spot-kick was converted by Laurel Cole whose composed strike into the bottom right-hand corner sent Tyrell Belford the wrong way to reduce the deficit.

With both teams down to ten men the visitors continued to press and hot prospect Ravel Morrison – who is tipped to be a future England international – scored two goals to reverse the score line and put United into the lead.

There was more controversy in the final stages of the game as Liverpool captain Connor Coady and Tyler Blackett clashed in front of the Kop and were both handed red cards by the match official.

Though the defeat represents a disappointing end to what had been a promising cup run for Rodolfo Borrell’s side there were certainly positives to take from this year’s cup campaign.

Raheem Sterling has put in some stellar performances for the u-18’s, most notably scoring 5 goals in the Reds clash with Southend United to the visit of Manchester United, whilst Coady, Suso, Flannigan and many others within the side all look like potential first-team players.

Previous U-18 sides have gone on to win the FA Youth Cup yet the majority of the players have failed to make the breakthrough to the first-team. The important thing for everyone at tha academy is to ensure the incredibly talent bunch of youngsters currently at the Kirkby facility are properly prepared for the move to Melwood.

Should Liverpool qualify for the Europa League next season the it will likely be seen as an unwanted distraction as the Reds look to ensure they climb back into the top four, meaning the competition –as well as the League Cup – could be used to give many of the players currently at the academy the chance to play soem first-team football.

It’s been far too long since Liverpool’s academy has produced a star player, but based on the performance of some of the current crop that isn’t likely to be a problem for long.


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