Star performer Kieran Morrison scored twice in a minute as Liverpool under-18s won an entertaining game against Blackburn Rovers 5-1, writes James Cranford at The Academy.

Liverpool’s wide men tormented the Rovers defence throughout, with Trent Kone-Doherty joining fellow wing-wizard Morrison on the scoresheet. Keyrol Figueroa and Kareem Ahmed had made it 2-0 to the Reds by half time, with Patrik Farkas scoring for the away side just after the break. 

Trent Kone-Doherty wins a free kick for Liverpool u18s at the AXA Training Centre
Trent Kone-Doherty wins a free kick for Liverpool u18s at the AXA Training Centre

Despite the one-sided scoreline, there were plenty of chances for both sides, with Blackburn’s Lorenze Mullarkey-Matthews providing a significant threat on the right throughout the game. 

The home side took the lead just after the 20 minute mark. A corner was recycled out to the impressive Cody Pennington, who swung a perfect first-time cross in from deep on the right. The sheer quality of the delivery made striker Figueroa’s task straight forward, with the Honduran applying a headed finish from close range. 

The end-to-end nature of the contest was reflected by the fact that the dangerous Mullarkey-Matthews had the ball in the net shortly after the opener. He latched onto a fantastic cross-field ball by centre-back Max Davies, but the goal was ruled out for a foul after a collision with Reds goalkeeper Kornel Misciur. 

The second goal also came by way of a recycled corner, as Lucas Pitt’s hopeful lofted ball found Kareem Ahmed at the back post. The Egyptian youth international’s header was saved by the impressive Solomon Honor, but the rebound was gratefully gobbled up.  

Despite conceding five times, the 17-year-old Honor was one of the better performers for the Lancastrians. He saved impressively with his feet on several occasions, including from player-of-the-match Morrison, who by half time had begun to turn left-back Bruce Leeming inside out. 

The crowd look on as Liverpool u18s take on Blackburn Rovers u18s at the AXA Training Centre
The crowd look on as Liverpool u18s take on Blackburn Rovers u18s at the AXA Training Centre

Rovers coach Ryan Kidd rallied his troops considerably during the break. His side flew out of the traps, scoring almost immediately through Farkas.

The former LFC youngster was involved in another great chance just minutes later. A flowing move led to both Zack Stritch and Joseph Boggan hitting the same post in the space of a few seconds.

This good spell was greeted with roared encouragement in Hungarian from one vocal supporter. Another man heard raising his voice was home goalkeeper Kornel Misciur, who directed a four-letter tirade towards his clubmates for their slack defending.  

As the game wore on, Liverpool’s widemen began to dominate. Kone-Doherty was slipped in by captain Michael Laffey. He sat his man down with a great cut-back and slotted through the legs of Honor.  

Shortly after, fellow inverted winger Morrison caused havoc with a 50-yard slaloming run. His cross came to nothing, but he did not have to wait long to make two telling contributions in the space of a minute. He curled in a perfect left-footed free-kick from 25 yards, before finishing smartly on his weak foot after being put through on goal immediately from the kick off. 

Despite the abundance of goalmouth action in the game, there was still time for Stritch to power a right-footed shot inches over for Rovers and for the home side to have a shot cleared off the line in the dying minutes.  

There was much for LFC manager Marc Bridge-Wilkinson to admire, as his side have struggled for form, losing three of their last four games in the U-18 Premier League North. They narrowed the gap to second-placed Manchester City to one point. Blackburn remain rooted to the bottom of the table, but can take some positives from the game despite the one-sided scoreline.