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Liverpool quartet swap first team for U21s – as striker scores on first start

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Days after they were part of the Liverpool squad for the Carabao Cup semi-final, four players swapped first team for U21s in a frustrating 4-2 loss at Brighton.

Brighton U21s 4-2 Liverpool U21s

PL2, AMEX Elite Football Performance Centre
January 13, 2024

Goals: Howell 8′ 58′, Flower 50′, Mullins 90+7′; Danns 13′, Koumas 33′


With 11 senior players absent, Jurgen Klopp named a young bench for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Fulham, including Kaide Gordon, Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Trey Nyoni.

None of those four made it onto the pitch in the 2-1 victory, but three days later they were part of the starting lineup for the U21s at Brighton.

Barry Lewtas, who saw striker Paul Glatzel depart for Swindon the day before and was without captain Tom Hill due to injury, fielded a high-potential side.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 2, 2023: Liverpool's Jayden Danns during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Etihad Campus. Man City won 3-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Calum Scanlon, 18, was the most experienced from a teenage back four, while Jayden Danns, 17, made his first start at U21s level up front.

It took Danns just 13 minutes to find the back of the net on his full debut, through Gordon’s assist, cancelling out an opener from Harry Howell to bring his season’s tally to 17 goals in 16 games.

The Scouser is averaging a goal every 70.7 minutes in the academy this season, with there no surprise he is now being fast-tracked through the ranks upon Glatzel’s exit.

Another youngster in prolific form of late, 18-year-old Lewis Koumas, then made it 2-1 to the young Reds, Clark setting him up for his third goal in as many games.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 14, 2023: Liverpool's Bobby Clark looks on during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-21's and Everton FC Under-21's, the Mini-Merseyside Derby, at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

But Brighton regained the lead shortly after the break, with Louis Flower levelling before 15-year-old Howell grabbed his second to turn the tie on its head.

Liverpool were then struck with a late goal from Jamie Mullins in stoppage time, with Lewtas concluding that it was: “A cliched game of two halves and sadly we’re on the wrong end of it.”

Interestingly, there was no Rhys Williams in the squad despite the centre-back resuming training with the U21s upon his recall from Aberdeen.

Owen Beck was not involved, either, though the left-back is considered part of the first team, while fellow returnee James Balagizi is currently rehabbing a hamstring injury.


Liverpool U21s: Mrozek; Davidson, Pinnington, Nallo, Scanlon; McConnell, Nyoni (Pilling 73′), Clark; Gordon, Koumas, Danns (Kone-Doherty 68′)

Subs not used: O.Kelly, Spearing

Next match: Fulham (H) – PL2 – Sunday, January 28, 12pm (GMT)