This was immense. If anyone needed a reminder of how good our new generation of u18s are, then here it was. This was a systematic destruction of a Liverpool u18s side that beat our cross town neighbours United 2-1 last week, and it was mightily impressive. When you consider that this was all without the likes of the EDS’ Brahim, Nmecha, Diallo, Duhaney, Kigbu and Davenport, all still eligible for u18s football, then it really starts to hit home how many exceptional talents we have at this club. It was marvellous to watch – bright, creative, varied and persistent. We started off strong and never let up, constantly breaking through Liverpool’s backline with free-flowing, incisive attacking football. Liverpool had no answer as Lee Carlsey’s team swarmed at them from all angles.
Sancho was fantastic, a taunting, mesmeric menace who tore Liverpool’s right-hand side to pieces. He’s improving week on week – his weight of pass, the timing of his decision making, it’s all developing at a rapid rate. Foden is like Silva with a goal threat. Wonderful feet. A bit Iniesta stylistically, come to think of it, and he can finish too as well as create. He bagged two well taken goals with almost nonchalant ease as well as grabbing an assist in a complete attacking-midfield performance. Luke Bolton is a proper battering ram of a winger, he grabbed one and and constantly ran at Liverpool’s backline and Tom Dele-Bashiru, as we saw last year with the u18s when he stepped up level, is such a powerful difference maker when he decides to go through the gears.
It was Dele-Bashiru who made the first goal – he skipped past one before freeing Joe Hardy who coolly fired home from a tight angle. It was an impressive game for Hardy. He barely got a kick for the u18s last year as he sat behind Nmecha and Buckley in the pecking order, but he’s looking very bright so far. He was one of the small handful of last year’s u18s first year scholars that hasn’t moved up to the EDS already, and it’s been justified. Two clever, instinctive finishes and two assists in one game, and importantly regular football. The same could be said for Joe Coveney – he struggled for game time last year behind the likes of Oliver, Kigbu, Humphreys and Adarabioyo, but he’s one of the benefactors of the shifting of the age groups at this level. He would have been delighted with his contribution – he had a big hand in two goals, playing two lovely deep passes out of defence on the counter. He partnered Joel Latibeaudiere in defence, who was powerful as immaculate in possession as ever.
The England youth international, Ed Francis, was a calming, composed presence at the heart of midfield before he seamlessly slotted slotted back into his usual central defence role as Iker Pozo came on. Iker’s a really nice player. Tiny, but tough and very, very composed on the ball. Typically Spanish, he dictated play from deep in the second fourty-five. Tyreke Wilson, Sancho’s left-hand side partner, was also excellent. A really likeable, tenacious and vibrant full-back. He was a constant thorn in Liverpool’s side as he linked well with Sancho throughout the 90. Colin Rosler, and yes that is Uwe’s son, started at right-back and had a solid, if not outstanding game. He’s arguably more suited to central midfield, but his versatility should stand him in good stead in the long run. Ian Carlo Poveda looks another impossibly skilful attacker. The signing from Brentfotd came on, scored two and showcased some sublime footwork as he repeatedly wrong-footed Liverpool’s midfield.
There was an encouraging little cameo from Myles Beerman, finally over a year long injury, and Muric was impressive in goal. A tall, imposing presence, the new signing is exceptionally confident. A modern goalkeeper in the truest sense, he was typically excellent with his feet and he did more than one Neuer impression as he swept up well. There was one moment of madness, but that will happen as he learns. It was a phenomenal team performance, and after a 3-1 victory away at Everton last week it’s looking likely that this team will go from strength to strength. As u16s last year this team blew teams away for fun and the question mark was whether they could do it after they stepped up a level. Well, it’s looking promising and the omens are good. Add Lorenzo Gonzalez to this, the Swiss wonderkid forward who is waiting for his international clearance, and the options this u18s team have are simply outstanding. The future is bright.