After suffering through an awful calendar year for our first team, the reserve team is one of the few bright spots that the club possesses. But darkness looms here too. The injury bug has yet to have any effect on the team, but knowing the pace of each game and the pressure applied to each player, someone is bound to go down sooner or later. It happens to every team. An even bigger concern though are the rumors that 17-year old supernova Raheem Sterling is unhappy and wants out to Tottenham. Without him, our youth system would only be slightly above average, but with him there is a wave of optimism.
Anyways, match report and analysis after the jump...
This game however was anything but bleak for us, as we minimized the highest scoring reserve side in the entire league, only conceding a meaningless late game penalty. There were a few MOTM worthy performances but I'll give it to Raheem for a few reasons that I'll discuss later.
Although Aston Villa set up camp in and around the Liverpool box for much of the time to start the game, the first chance was ours, setting the tone for the afternoon. Raheem slithered to the byline to set up Nathan Eccleston who duly missed an open net with an off balanced lefty squirter. Moments later though, Eccleston made amends with a beautiful curler from the edge of the box to put Liverpool up 1-0. It was Eccleston again whose shot was deflected into the path off a lively and alert Suso who buried it home. While Suso still at times seemed to vanish (think Hendo) from the game, he did have some lively moments and deserved a goal. Northern Ireland international Ryan Mclaughlin made it 3-0 after halftime with his first ever reserve goal, finding space with a brilliant run down the wing. Villa's consolation penalty was not the last laugh as Sterling won a 50/50 header at midfield, sprinted ahead towards goal along with subsitute striker Ngoo (no defenders within a mile) and unselfishly passed at the last moment when he could have easily scored, allowing Ngoo the moment of glory to finish the game at 4-1. Unselfish plays such as that reassure me that Sterling isn't the unhappy whiner that the rumor mill has cast him out to be. If he really wanted to go, wouldn't he be padding his stats? He also showed great determination in tracking back numerous times and was his usual cheeky self on the wing. What his reserve start today does mean though is that he will probably not play in the first team's next match. Overall a good game for the side, although the defense has given up too many penalties lately. Use this victory as a minor distraction from everything else gone wrong.