As Liverpool defeat AC Milan, Max Woltman scores the winner, but Harvey Davies is the hero.
Liverpool’s academy players have a reputation for being among the most dynamic in the country.
But it was their defensive organization and resolve that helped them launch their UEFA Youth League campaign in Kirkby on Wednesday afternoon with a hard-fought 1-0 triumph over AC Milan.
Marc Bridge-under-19 Wilkinson’s side were indebted to goalkeeper Harvey Davies’ remarkable performance in withstanding a stern examination from the visitors as Max Woltman netted the game’s winner.
Owen Beck’s superb perseverance down the left saw him hold off Milan right-back Andrei Coubis and drag the pass back for Woltman to finish past goalkeeper Sebastiano Desplanches in the eighth minute.
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Before the halftime, Woltman and Kaide Gordon both had chances to extend the lead, while Desplanches did brilliantly to turn aside a Tyler Morton free-kick from distance.
Milan, on the other hand, posed a persistent threat, with Davies saving brilliantly from Jordan Pio Amore and Youns Gabriel El Hilali, who also clipped the crossbar.
During a tense second half, El Hilali wasted another chance after the ball fell fortuitously for him inside the box.
As Milan pressed in the last quarter, Davies made a fantastic full-length save to keep out a header from substitute Gabriele Alesi, before a string of saves ensured the Reds got off to a winning start.
Kaide Gordon has made a name for himself in a short amount of time.
The 16-year-strong old’s performances since joining for £3 million from Derby County in February earned him a chance in pre-season and a potential start in the League Cup encounter against Norwich City next week.
Milan, who had clearly identified the winger as Liverpool’s danger man, had taken notice of his growing reputation.
Gordon was thrown on his backside twice in the first half as the visitors thought that fouling the youngster was the best course of action.
Gordon, on the other hand, seemed unfazed, going wide with one scuffed effort then displaying terrific feet and understanding inside the box to give Woltman a chance.
While not harsh treatment, the Liverpool youth has become accustomed to the Milan defense’s careful attention.
But. “The summary has come to an end.”