Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Liverpool vs. Manchester United
Date: Friday, 22 August 2014
Kick-off: 19:00 BST
One of the biggest fixtures in English football ended in a draw as Liverpool and Manchester United’s Under-21s draw 1-1 at Anfield.
Jordan Lussey’s free-kick gave the home side the lead midway through the second period, before Tom Lawrence bagged his second goal in as many games, as the sides took a share of the spoils, to preserve their unbeaten records, albeit the season being just two games old.
It took United less than 60 seconds to conjure up the first chance of the game.
A motoring run down the right-hand side from Saidy Janko saw the man from Switzerland play the ball across the 18 yard box, only for Josh Harrop’s first time shot to fly over into the Kop end.
Joe Rothwell then curled a shot just over the bar after Lawrence’s clever headed flick that allowed United’s number eight to latch onto the loose ball.
Kristoffer Peterson managed to get in behind the United back three, only for his tame effort to be comfortably held by Joel Pereira.
A wild effort from Lussey flew beyond the frame of the goal, but the home side began to shows of coming back into the game, after the visitors had dominated the early exchanges.
However, it was United who had the next best chance.
Harrop stole the ball off Cameron Brannagan, but as he bore down on goal, he seemed to dwell in his decision-making, with Lawrence an option to his right, but in the end the Liverpool defence got back to block a scuffed shot, before keeper Danny Ward came to collect the loose ball.
Sheyi Ojo was the next player in red to sky a shot high and wide, before a much more testing effort, this time from Lussey, edged the outside of the post, as Pereira was beaten.
After scoring his first under-21 goal in last week’s 3-0 victory over Norwich, Harrop looked eager to add to that, as he looked the most likely to break the deadlock for United, but another shot leaving his boot was this time held with ease by Ward in the Liverpool goal.
And United should’ve broken the deadlock in the 37th minute.
A superb free-kick from Andreas Pereira fell perfectly for Paddy McNair to side foot home from six yards out, only to join Lussey in hitting the woodwork, as the ball cannoned off the post and fell behind for a goal kick.
A brilliant last ditch tackle from Tom Thorpe prevented Harry Wilson from getting his shot away, as an even first half drew to a close.
Into the second half and Wilson began to come into the game a lot more.
He won himself a free-kick and his resulting kick was turned behind for a corner by Pereira.
United’s first effort since the interval saw a tame weaker foot effort from Lawrence practically treacle into the hands of Ward before the home side took the lead at the other end, just after the hour mark.
The impressive Lussey probably deserved a goal the most for Liverpool, and his free-kick from 20 yards out was expertly slotted home into the bottom corner.
But United weren’t behind for long – four minutes and five seconds to be precise.
A great one-two between Harrop and substitute James Weir saw the latter reach the by-line and his low pass was finished off from close range by Lawrence.
With little over ten minutes remaining and the game became stretched, with Rothwell firing over from distance for United.
Liverpool were then presented with a golden opportunity to win the game.
Rothwell’s foul led to a quick free-kick being taken by Ojo, catching the United defence out in the process, but substitute Sergi Canos took forever and an age to shoot, allowing Pereira to leap from his line and turn the ball behind.
Captain Lloyd Jones saw a speculative 50 yard strike rise high into the Kop as the game petered out in stoppage time.
An even game and a fair result in the end.
The match burst into life after half-time before both sides cancelling each other out, as neither could find that all important winner.
Manchester United: J. Pereira; McNair, Thorpe, Vermijl; Janko, Pearson, Rothwell, C. Evans (Weir 56); Harrop, A. Pereira; Lawrence.
Subs: Weir, O’Hara, Grimshaw, Goss, Willock.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Liverpool: Ward; McLaughlin, Williams, Jones, Stewart; Rossiter, Lussey (Pelosi 80); Wilson (Canos 74), Brannagan, Ojo; Peterson (Yesil 89).
Subs: McGuire, Vigouroux, Canos, Pelosi, Yesil.