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First-team ravaged Liverpool fall short of semi-final berth with FA Youth Cup exit

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With an injury-ravaged first-team pinching several regular starters at under-18 level, a young Reds side exited the FA Youth Cup at the hands of Leeds in the quarter-final.

Leeds U18s 3-1 Liverpool U18s

FA Youth Cup Quarter-Final, Elland Road
February 29, 2024

Goals: Chadwick 35′, 70′, Lane 53′; Kone-Doherty 89′


It has been quite the week for Liverpool’s academy, with one inspiring story after another, injecting a feel-good factor throughout the entire club.

And that will have reverberated down to the U18s, who will have watched their mates realise their dreams the previous night at Anfield.

With Jurgen Klopp still relying on a number of the club’s youngsters in the first-team, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson was without the likes of Jayden Danns, Lewis Koumas, Trey Nyoni and Amara Nallo at Leeds.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 29, 2024: Liverpool's Trent Kone-Doherty takes on three Leeds United defenders during the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match between Leeds United FC Under-18's and Liverpool FC Under-18's at Elland Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The young Reds had a promising start but did see a clear handball shout waved away by the referee in Leeds‘ penalty area, while Trent Kone-Doherty was crowded off the ball on his impressive one-man drive.

But an unfortunate mistake in his box from captain Josh Davidson led to Leeds opening the scoring, with his desperate attempt to make up for the error on the goal-line coming up agonisingly short.

Half time: Leeds U18s 1-0 Liverpool U18s

Liverpool were clearly missing a focal point up top and struggled to sustain any attacks on Rory Mahady in Leeds‘ goal, but the hosts had no such problem at the other end.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 29, 2024: Liverpool's goalkeeper Kornel Misciur looks dejected as Leeds United score a second goal during the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match between Leeds United FC Under-18's and Liverpool FC Under-18's at Elland Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Just eight minutes into the second half, Leeds established a two-goal buffer with a free header at the back post, with the Reds’ defence not shifting over in time to intervene.

The link-up play between DJ Esdaille and Kieran Morrison on Liverpool’s right showed plenty of promise, their bursts of acceleration giving Leeds something to think about.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Thursday, February 29, 2024: Liverpool's Trent Kone-Doherty scores his side's first goal to make the score 3-1 during the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match between Leeds United FC Under-18's and Liverpool FC Under-18's at Elland Road. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The young Reds, who were watched by Steve McManaman on the bench, showed plenty of fight throughout, though, and Kone-Doherty’s well-timed finish in the 89th minute got them on the scoreboard, albeit too late.

Leeds had already extended their advantage to three, and thus a late rally was not enough to book a place in the semi-final against Millwall.


TIA Man of the Match: Kieran Morrison

Liverpool: Misciur; Esdaille (Gyimah 63′), Pitt, Pinnington, Davidson; Kelly (Onanuga 46′), Laffey, Pennington; Kone-Doherty, Morrison, Ahmed (Young 73′)

Subs not used: Hall, Enahoro-Marcus, Sonni-Lambie, Bradshaw

Next Match: Middlesbrough (A) – U18 Premier League – Saturday, March 9, 1pm (GMT)