Liverpool 3-2 Arsenal:
Liverpool moved to one point off first place behind Manchester City and local rivals Everton with a 3-2 victory over Arsenal.
The reds started superbly, Harry Wilson opened the scoring for the reds just two minutes in, after an ambitious ball by Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori landed at the feet of the Liverpool captain, where he then audaciously lobbed Matt Macey in goal.
However, just moments later, the Gunners were level. Stephy Mavididi, the 18 year old was on hand to punish the home side, who gave the ball away cheaply in midfield which sparked the attack.
The reds were back looking for vengeance, Joe Maguire fizzed a long ball forwards for striker, Brooks Lennon to chase, good defending by Ben Sheaf saw this eradicated though.
Sheyi Ojo was a livewire during the beginning of the match, causing havoc for the Arsenal backline. On a rampage, he was stopped in his tracks by Reiss Nelson who brought the former Wolves loanee down in a promising central position for the Reds.
Nelson himself, was a driving force, skipping past opponents, he was acting as the main provider for Mavididi and Chris Willock upfront.
Maguire sent another long ball into the box 11 minutes in, on this occasion it proved monumental.
Cameron Brannagan was brought down by Matt Macey in goal, and resulted in referee; Steven Rushton pointing to the spot. Wilson stepped up, and tucked the ball home smartly into the bottom right hand corner.
Not long after this, Reiss Nelson had two consecutive attempts blocked, first by Sakho, who threw himself in front of the ball, and second time round prompted a good save by Shamal George.
Arsenal then won themselves a corner, taken by Ismael Bennacer, who played it short to Willock. He then fizzed the ball back into the danger zone, but it was well cleared and almost saw Brooks Lennon getting in at the other end for Liverpool.
On the 26 minute mark, Liverpool regained their lead.
Pedro Chirivella threaded through a perfectly weighted pass to Ojo, who found himself in acres of space on the left wing, he fired past Macey at his near post to make it 3-1.
Five minutes later, Maguire passed to Brannagan on the edge of the box, his shot glided just past the left hand post.
Steve Gatting’s men fought back, Willock made space on left hand flank, cut inside and shot, it was well saved again by George in goal however.
One of the biggest chances of the half fell to the visitors on the stroke of half time. Jeff Reine- Adelaide caught Ilori off guard at the back and snatched the ball off him to present him a one on one opportunity. Reinforcements arrived though, and diffused the situation.
As the second half began, Corey Whelan, who has been at Liverpool since U10 level, came on in place of Joe Gomez in defence.
The Reds started brightly, Brookes Lennon played a ball across goal hunting for Ojo, although, he couldn’t quite sort his feet out and missed the opportunity.
Both sides were struggling to get a foothold after this moment, after a thrilling first half, the second half turned into more a tactical affair, which prompted changes from both managers. On the hour mark Kevin Stewart departed for Jordan Williams. Whereas, for Arsenal, Ismael Bennacer was replaced by Eddie Nketiah.
Ten minutes later, a great chance for the home side to wrap things up : Great build up play between Wilson, Chirivella and Ojo almost saw the Reds make it 4-1, however it was one pass too many in the end.
This missed opportunity came back to haunt Mick Garrity’s men as Arsenal made it 3-2 in the 72nd minute. Nelson made a driving run forward, then fed the ball into Mavidivi who slotted the ball into bottom right corner for his second of the game. There were claims for a foul on Ojo moments before, these were ignored however.
Two minutes on from the goal, the away side were back again. This time, Willock was inches away, his effort drifting past right hand post. He wasn’t finished there either, another surge forwards saw him dance past three players in box, but he didn’t have the end product on this occasion.
Liverpool made a final substitution on 82 minutes, with Chirivella the assister for Ojo’s goal, making way for young player, Matthew Virtue.
As the game drew to its final stages, there was a hefty collision in the middle of the pitch, Maguire and Chiori Johnson running straight into one another. Johnson was the player to come off worse, and was down for around three minutes.
Arsenal were still searching for the equaliser in the dying embers of the match, Willock again came agonisingly close. His finesse effort swirled past the right of George. Finally, substitute, Virtue received a yellow card for a rash challenge on Marc Bola, on the edge of the area. It was the final chance of the game, and was sent flying over the bar by Ben Sheaf.
Liverpool held on for the three points, which sees them complete the double over the Gunners in the league this season. Arsenal who prior to this match had won their last three league games slipped to defeat, whereas, Mike Garrity’s men picked up a much needed win after a winless run of four games in all competitions.
Liverpool U23s: George; Ilori, Gomez (Whelan 46′), Sakho, Maguire; Stewart (Williams 60′), Chirivella (Virtue 83′), Brannagan; Wilson, Lennon, Ojo
Subs not used: Firth, Gomes
Arsenal U23s: Macey; Johnson, Sheaf, Bielik (c), Bola; Maitland-Niles, Bennacer (Nketiah 63′), Reine-Adelaide; Nelson, Mavididi, Willock
Subs not used: Zelalem, Keto, Nketiah, Dragomir, Da Silva