Liverpool's youngsters did their club proud on Tuesday night with an astonishing win against the reigning champions Inter Milan. The 4-1 win sees them carry momentum into the second stage and makes them one of the tournament favourites once again.
Liverpool have qualified for the second stage of the NextGen Series with an astonishing humbling of reigning champions Inter Milan at Langtree Park, St Helens. The Reds suffered a terrible start to their campaign losing their opening three games on the bounce but since then they have been resurgent; storming to victories over Borussia Dortmund and Rosenborg and now sealing their rightful place in the second round with a 4-1 win.
Liverpool played a solid passing game much like the philosophy being implemented by Brendan Rodgers while Inter tended to play fast and loose; hoping to catch their opponents on the counter-attack. Inter started the game brightly, hitting the post within seconds of kick-off but Liverpool took the lead. Skipper Conor Coady stepped up to tuck away a penalty after right-back Ryan McLaughlin was fouled in the box.
Liverpool’s pace then began to threaten with Jerome Sinclair and Jordan Ibe giving the Inter defenders a torrid time and the pressure paid off when a poor back-pass let German youth international Samed Yesil in on goal, who duly rounded the keeper and tucked it away for 2-0.
Inter started the second half positively in pursuit of a comeback and just after the hour mark they would have had Alex Inglethorpe worried when Benassi capitalised on scrappy defending from a corner to make it 2-1.
Liverpool soon confirmed one of the oldest clichés in the book that you are most vulnerable when you have just scored by extending their lead once again. Once again full-back McLaughlin was the provider after a slick passing move worked him into a crossing position and he delivered a perfect cross for Yesil who bagged his hat-trick.
Man-of-the-match McLaughlin then went on another mazy run into the Italian’s box before neing upended once again. Coady took responsibility once again to despatch and put the game beyond their opponents; 4-1.
Liverpool now carry superb momentum into the next round and will be full of optimism that they can push the rest of Europe’s elite youngsters all the way to the final stages of the competition.
Here is some Twitter response from jubilant Liverpool youngsters…
Thanks so much for the messages, really happy we are through to the next stages of the next gen! Can't wait for the next round— Ryan McLaughlin (@RyanMcL2) January 8, 2013
Thanks for all the comments and support for the team. Great win. #LFC— Jordon ibe (@IbeJordon) January 8, 2013
The final teams are all but confirmed with just one game remaining between Chelsea and Ajax on the 29th January. If Chelsea can avoid a 12 goal defeat against the Dutch outfit they will go through at the expense of French side Marseille.
Here are the teams through to the next stage:
image: © Vincent Teeuwen