Trailing 3-2 with 24 minutes to play, Liverpool were flirting with defeat against BSC Young Boys, forcing Brendan Rodgers to swiftly make changes to his relatively inexperienced side. These proved to play dividends, with Jonjo Shelvey in particular proving vital in turning the tide around and ultimately walking away worthy 5-3 victors in Berne.
In a game where over half of the first team were relatively inexperienced, Liverpool’s young guns fired on all cylinders in attack. Before the game however, nobody saw Young Boys scoring three goals, and this is an area which must, and will, improve. Uncharacteristically, long-serving Jamie Carragher was at fault for one of the home side’s goals, and an unsteady partnership with 21-year-old Sebastian Coates in central defence proved leaky, with Young Boys punishing them on three occasions.
Debutant Andre Wisdom will remember the tie for years to come for all the right reasons though, after scoring Liverpool’s second of the night, and Jonjo Shelvey picked up a brace after his cameo in the second half changed the game around.
Wisdom wasn’t the only player to shine, with Suso putting in a strong display. Both players, 19- and 18-years-old respectively, where making their first-team debuts after emerging from Liverpool’s youth academy - as was summer signing Oussama Assaidi - as Brendan Rodgers toyed with his tactics in an eventful night in Switzerland.
The defining moment in the game proved to be Sebastian Coates’ 67th minute equaliser, putting the scores at 3-3 before Shelvey laid the match to rest, but at times Liverpool looked edgy. With so many players on their debuts or lacking first-team experience, the outcome of the game was impossible to call with half an hour to play.
Rodgers kept faith in his youngsters, and ultimately this paid dividends, but had the result gone the way of the home side, it’s possible the manager may have come under-fire for his team selection. Thankfully for the Reds, this isn’t the case, and they’ve opened their Europa League campaign for a win. Not only this, but key players will have been rested to welcome Manchester United to Anfield in their weekend fixture.
In the end, Liverpool’s performance will be applauded, and Rodgers’ team selection praised. His team largely consisting of youngsters shone in Berne, and gave Rodgers a taste of what they can do, and Liverpool’s Europa League run has started strong.
For the rest of the team, sights will be set on the weekend, as Liverpool look to inflict Manchester United’s second league defeat of the season.
Were you pleased with the performance of Liverpool’s youngsters on Thursday?