In true Manchester United style, the u21s left it late to beat Liverpool at Langtree Park in their u21 Premier League Elite Group game.
Schlupp with 2 great chances in the opening 6 minutes
United should have been 1-0 up after just 90 second when superb play down the left involving Fred Veseli and Nick Powell sent trialist Jeff Schlupp clear on goal, but the forward rolled the ball inches wide with his left foot.
Schlupp got another chance to open the scoring just 4 minutes later when Adnan Januzaj sent the striker clear – the ball rolled slightly too far giving him a difficult angle and keeper Ward saved with his leg when Schlupp tried to poke the ball past him. Liverpool got their first chance on 8 minutes when Suso sent in a brilliant cross from the right but Adam Morgan couldn’t connect properly and the ball went wide.
Morgan striking the post for Liverpool
Morgan should have given Liverpool the lead when Wisdom broke down the right after a quick throw, with United’s players too busy complaining to the referee. The low cross was flicked to Morgan by Sterling but his effort hit the post via the leg of Ben Amos.
Powell saw yellow after 12 minutes played and Stephen Sama followed 6 minutes later when Schlupp was too quick for the defender, forcing him to bring the striker down near the cornerflag. The freekick from Tom Lawrence was however easily blocked by Liverpool.
Jonjo Shelvey who had been fairly quiet for 27 minute then decided to jump into the action with a crunching tackle that took the ball and the ankle of Alex Buttner. Whilst he got the ball, it was one of those tackles that could have resulted in a red if he didn’t get the ball.
After a couple of seconds in agony, Buttner was OK to continue.
Schlupp with another effort brilliant saved by Ward
Schlupp continued to terrorize Liverpool every chance he got. Jesse Lingard went on a superb 50 yard-run from his own half, going past 3 players before setting up Schlupp. The striker moved the ball onto his left foot and went for the near post but Ward once again saved for a corner, which was wasted.
Liverpool had a lot of the ball near the end of the half but several of the players who were expected to create things for the home side were poor. Suso got nothing from Buttner and Sterling was also strangely quiet. The only player standing out for Liverpool going forward was the young midfielder Teixeira. In the dying seconds both Wisdom and Adorjan picked up yellow cards.
Liverpool went close 3 minutes into the second half. Wisdom once again broke free down the right-hand side but his dangerous cross was headed for a corner by the classy Tom Thorpe.
Lawrence who had faded after a decent start was the first player to leave the pitch, with Charni Ekangamene coming on in his place.
Sama sent off for second bookable offence
With 51 minutes played and the game balanced, Liverpool defender Sama was sent off. Schlupp got the ball in midfield and poked it past Sama who continued his tackle and sent Schlupp flying. With a yellow from the first half, the referee had no choice but to send off the defender who had a horrible game. Sama was actually sent-off a few years ago against United in that now infamous FAYC game so he knew all about that feeling.
The dismissal forced Liverpool to reshuffle with Wisdom moved centrally and Shelvey moved down into the rightback position.
United go close on several occasions
United almost took the lead immediately after, when Januzaj went past a defender on the outside – and tried to poke the ball past Ward from a very tight angle, but Ward did well to block the effort and Coady got in Ekangamene’s way on the rebound.
Buttner then set up Larnell Cole for what should have been the lead on 60 minutes with a pinpoint cross. Cole took the ball down on his chest and tried to curl the ball in with the outside of his boot, but saw his chance go just wide of the far post.
It was all United at this point and just seconds later Schlupp hit the side-netting from 25 yards out after a poor pass from Adorjan.
Ward was once again Liverpool’s saviour denying Schlupp after Lingard hit a ball towards Schlupp which somehow managed to glide off the shoulder of Wisdom and put Schlupp through clear. With just the keeper to beat Ward again kept the striker out, and the resulting corner saw a Thorpe header cleared off the line by Shelvey. With 20 minutes remaining Liverpool were extremely fortunate not to be at least 1 goal behind.
The referee continued to dish out yellow cards and Teixeira and Veseli were the next 2 into the book for fairly harmless challenges. He didn’t get many decisions wrong the referee – but there were too many cards handed out.
Liverpool with 2 great chances to steal the win
Out of the blue Liverpool got a great chance to steal the lead. A horribly hit pass found Teixeira who immediately set up Morgan but luckily for United, the striker decided not to to shoot straight away and United could clear. Just a few minutes later Liverpool got another great chance after nice work by Suso and Teixeira, but from 18 yards out Suso sent the ball into the crowd.
Januzaj, who had a really good first half but faded in the second, was the next United player to be substituted with Blackett taking his place with 14 minutes remaining.
Buttner then came really close to scoring with a great run and superb strike which took a wicked deflection off of the hand of Wisdom but with Ward scrambling, the ball landed on the roof of the net. Buttner wanted a penalty but Wisdom couldn’t possibly get his hand out of the way from that rocket.
Amos with the best save of the game
Amos then produced the save of the game after Teixeira struck the ball from 25 yards after a poor corner – the ball took a deflection off Shelvey but Amos managed to keep the ball out. With both teams pushing for a win the final 10 minutes were entertaining, but the match looked like it was going to end in a goalless draw due to the brilliance of goalkeeper Danny Ward.
Fornasier hits the winner
Despite all his good work in 93rd minutes not even Ward could keep United out. A good cross from Veseli was headed down by Schlupp to Lingard, hiseffort was superbly kept out by Ward but the ball then fell to Fornasier who’s volley brilliantly looped over Shelvey on the line into the Liverpool goal. Liverpool just managed to kick-off before the referee blew for full time for a strong win for United.
Thorpe, Buttner, Schlupp and in periods Januzaj and Lingard the best players for United – Cole once again poor. For Liverpool Coady and keeper Ward were outstanding – and Shelvey had a really good second half. Sterling produced very little and Suso even less.
Watching Schlupp was interesting – he certainly looked like a decent player. Good pace, good movement and he hits the ball really well. He had several attempts on goal, he was involved in the goal and he was the player Sama brought down on both his bookings. Joyce should be happy with his involvement today.
Liverpool – Manchester United U21 0-1 (0-0)
0-1 Michele Fornasier 90 + 3
Liverpool: Daniel Ward – Craig Roddan, Conor Coady, Stephen Sama, Andre Wisdom – Suso, Jonjo Shelvey, Krisztian Adorjan, Joao Teixeira, Raheem Sterling – Adam Morgan
Bench: Nacho, Yusuf Mersin, Jack Dunn, Jordan Lussey, Lloyd Jones
Manchester United: Ben Amos – Alexander Buttner, Michele Fornasier, Tom Thorpe, Frederic Veseli – Tom Lawrence (Ekangamene 48), Nick Powell, Adnan Januzaj, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj (Blackett 76) – Jeffery Schlupp
Bench: Pierluigi Gollini, Tyler Blackett, Sean McGinty, Reece James, Charni Ekangamene