Liverpool 1-3 Man United
Goals: Glatzel 70′ | Bernard 47′, Greenwood 59′, Garner (p) 90+5′
Liverpool XI: Jaros; Williams, Larouci (O’Rourke 84′), Williams, Clayton, Ritaccio (Dixon=Bonner 54′), Sharif, Cain, Glatzel (c), Duncan, Longstaff (Clarkson 65′).
Man Utd XI: Fojtíček; Puigmal, Laird, Bernard, Williams (c); Garner, Traore, Levitt; Elanga (McCann 84′), Ramazani (McGhee 65′); Greenwood.
New manager Neil Ryan delivered his first win in charge of Manchester United’s under-18s, seeing off the challenge of Liverpool after Ryan’s side had been held by Derby County in the opening match of the season.
After a tight first half in which Liverpool had the lion’s share of the chances, with Matteo Ritaccio striking the post with a fierce drive and captain Paul Glatzel forcing a very good save from Alex Fojtiíček on the half-hour mark.
United had some chances themselves, with the first seeing Largie Ramazani have a relatively tame effort saved by Jaros, striking from a looped Puigmal cross.
Ryan’s Reds came out of half-time with renewed confidence, contrasting the hosts’ attitude, which seemed slightly off after the break, despite having had the first half advantage.
Dishon Bernard towered above everyone after 47 minutes to power a header home from a deep, accurate Puigmal corner for his first goal in the U18 Premier League.
United’s confidence swelled as Liverpool’s frustration simultaneously amplified.
Mason Greenwood went on a mazy run, forcing his way past two defenders as they backed off towards the penalty area before dragging his shot wide of the right post.
Poor challenges, some cynical, some stupid, some rash, flew in from Liverpool, and that only continued as Greenwood doubled United’s lead, tapping in after a wonderful team move.
Jimmy Garner, the controller of midfield all day, delivered a fantastic outside-of-the-boot pass to Brandon Williams, who waited patiently to feed Traore through to the byline. The French midfielder duly cut the ball back for the waiting Greenwood who tapped home easily for his third goal of the season.
But while Liverpool’s reaction following the first goal was meek, they came back strongly after a couple of substitutions after the second.
With the game opening up, Glatzel struck to bring the hosts back into the game, stretching and sliding to power it home past Fojtíček.
A minute later, the United goalkeeper was called into action and Ryan’s visitors looked ready to be scythed open for the remainder of the game, ready to surrender their lead.
But a stupid challenge from Sharif saw him receive a second booking to take Liverpool down to 10-men in a manic three minute period with a red card, a goal and two further chances for Liverpool.
Glatzel got through United’s defence again, but snatched at his chance.
United slowly regained their composure, keeping possession as they looked to tire Liverpool. Greenwood rifled a strike home, but was offside.
Liverpool’s challenge to United’s lead was far from over, though, and the hosts made the final 10 minutes extend far longer than reality in the minds of United’s players and coaches.
But United did manage to see out the game, despite Brandon Williams being sent off for a second booking, with Liverpool panicking late on, desperate to regain possession, and giving away a penalty.
Garner did well to hold onto the ball in the penalty area and draw a foul from Clarkson, before the England U17s captain finished from the spot to secure the victory.
It’s an impressive win for United. First to hold out in a first half where Liverpool were on top. Secondly, to come out of the break and take the game by the scruff of the neck and thirdly, to hold out as Liverpool threatened massively, sealing the game late on with a penalty.