#under23s: Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool Match Report

Manchester United U23 1-1 Liverpool U23

Scorer(s): Josh Harrop, ’48 – Harry Wilson, ’20.

Attendance: 3,106 – Leigh Sports Village

Substitutions: Charlie Scott ON Matthew Olosunde OFF (’64), Ben Woodburn ON Ovie Ejaria OFF (’76), Cameron Brannagan ON Harry Wilson OFF (’81).

A supporter's view at Leigh Sports Village | Photo: @Doon1976/Twitter
A supporter’s view at Leigh Sports Village | Photo: @Doon1976/Twitter

Against tough opposition, including many millions of pounds worth of big-name players, Manchester United‘s under-23 side did well to earn a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool in Premier League 2.

As a defence of Ro-Shaun Williams (18), Axel Tuanzebe (18), Regan Poole (18), and Joe Riley (19) came up against Danny Ings and Marko Grujic, manager Warren Joyce said he was pleased that “it was proper game” but was disappointed, at times, about United’s decision-making in the final third.

Midfielder Matty Willock, now seemingly first-choice striker, had a tough challenge against Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori while Liverpool’s youth products in Harry Wilson and Kamil Grabara also impressed.

After Wilson put the visitors in front with an admittedly wonderful flick, United responded well. Ings had struck the post with a header before left-back Connor Randall pounced on the rebound. At the second rebound, a shot traveled into the crowded area and Wilson, with his back to goal, produced a superb flick into the bottom left corner of Sam Johnstone‘s goal.

United’s response was good and the Reds came close to netting an equaliser before half-time, with Matthew Olosunde and Willock looking particularly dangerous. Devonte Redmond, having cut inside from the left flank, fired a powerful shot onto the crossbar, with Liverpool goalkeeper Grabara beaten.

Joyce’s young side came out with a similar intensity. Scott McTominay, in a midfield duo with Josh Harrop, gave his teammate the chance to equalise, earning a penalty. McTominay stormed down the right wing and, having reached the byline, cut back into the penalty area. Running away from goal, Pedro Chirvella pulled him back and referee Tom Nield a spotkick which Harrop put away from good placement, beating Grabara despite the goalkeeper diving the right way.

While the initial stages of the second half contained plenty of chances, they became more infrequent as the match progressed, Liverpool threatening more so than the hosts. Danny Ings came close on multiple occasions, being denied excellently by United’s most senior player Sam Johnstone with around 20 minutes of remaining.

Tuanzebe’s superb reading of the game was vital as Liverpool consistently came close to feeding through United’s defensive line. Had the captain not read such passes, one-on-one situations with Johnstone would have been a regularity.

Goalscorer Josh Harrop spoke of United’s acceptance that a draw is a good result for them, particularly given the strength of the opposition, but displeasure with the lack of possession throughout the game. United now face Arsenal in a week’s time.

Next fixture: Arsenal (home) – Monday, October 24th – 19:00.

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