Liverpool U23s recorded their first victory of the Premier League 2 campaign on Monday night with a 3-1 victory away at Everton.
Sheyi Ojo opened the scoring in the mini Merseyside derby after 40 minutes before Kaide Gordon added a second not long after half-time.
Everton pulled one back through substitute Rafael Garcia in Southport, but Max Woltman’s finish 12 minutes from time secured the three points for the Reds.
Barry Lewtas’ side were comfortably on top all throughout the first half and could've taken the lead well before they did.
Woltman and Owen Beck both had shots cleared off the line, while Tyler Morton, Rhys Williams and Gordon saw efforts drift just wide.
But the deserved opener eventually arrived when Tom Clayton picked up possession near the centre circle and immediately headed towards Everton's goal. The U23s skipper delayed the pass brilliantly before releasing Ojo, who calmly slotted beyond Zan-Luk Leban.
Fourteen minutes following the restart, the visitors’ lead was doubled. Gordon decided to fire off towards goal from around 25 yards out, with the ball squeezing under Leban and hitting the back of the net.
But Everton struck back quickly to halve the deficit, with substitute Garcia successfully evading the offside trap to then beat Reds goalkeeper Liam Hughes in a one-v-one situation.
The goal appeared to jolt Liverpool back into life as Gordon went extremely close on two separate occasions.
Persistence from the Reds paid off, though. Conor Bradley finished off a marauding run down the right with a cross into the box. Woltman peeled away from his defender and finished to wrap up the three points.
Hughes made sure of the victory with a fabulous tip onto the cross from Joe Higgins’ volley.
Liverpool U23s: Hughes, Bradley, Williams, Koumetio, Beck, Clayton, Morton, Cain Gordon (Bearne, 90), Woltman (O'Rourke, 86), Ojo.
Unused substitutes: Kelly, Ritaccio, Norris.
Anfield was back to full capacity for the first time in more than 500 days as Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0 in their first home game of the 2021-22 Premier League season – see how the day unfolded in the latest edition of Inside Anfield.
Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane struck the goals as the Reds made it six points from a possible six at the start of the new campaign in front of a sold-out stadium.
And you can see what happened before, during and after the meeting with The Clarets from our behind-the-scenes cameras by watching the YouTube video below.
A few weeks ago, I was falling down a succession of internet rabbit holes, basically in a bid to avoid making prolonged eye contact with a looming book deadline.
I became obsessed with the Bold Street ‘time slips’, phenomena in which unassuming shoppers are transported back in time to the mid-to-late 1960s. These instances reputedly last for a few minutes, disorientating the participant, before they are returned to their own epoch.
Anfield, on Saturday afternoon, felt like a bit of a time slip.
Stepping into an environment you know so very well but have largely been denied access to for the best part of 18 months, it made for a surreal event. All the familiar landmarks were reassuring ones, while each glaring difference to the one in the mind’s eye was jarring.
Over in Tuebrook, the old disused Dockers’ Club and car park are now being built upon. A housing estate is steadily growing, at a location you should still be able to pick off some relatively cheap parking while daydreaming that it would be the perfect place for an episode of Scooby Doo to unfold.
Added to this, The Flat Iron has had an external lick of paint that does not look quite right.
I was present for the Crystal Palace game, back in May, in which a restricted few thousand of us were permitted to watch Liverpool clinch Champions League qualification. It was football, but not as we knew it.
The visit of Burnley represented at least a temporary return of the old normal, and it was almost intoxicating.
My dad will celebrate his 83rd birthday on Tuesday. Unexpectedly, for me, and probably him as well, he had tears in his eyes as he made his return to Anfield. He went on to profess that he had harboured doubts that he would ever do so again.
Since the loss of my mum, almost three years ago, a game that has always been important to him became something of a lifeline. The quiet days of midweek would be swept away with a trip to the football.
It was the definitive light at the end of the tunnel, and the walk from the Dockers’ Club car park and back kept him fitter than your average octogenarian.
Massively sociable, a man who loves nothing more than good company and a chat became a prisoner of his own home, and exclusively locked within his own company instead.
For somebody that is 83 going on 23, this has been a global pandemic that will have undoubtedly taken years off his life.
My dad can no longer withstand a prolonged walk to and from the ground. I have to drop him off, then strategically fetch the car as close as common-sense allows after the match. It sounds mad, but the near-83-year-old has aged noticeably these last 18 months.
Anfield was a full stadium on Saturday. It made for a lovely, but surreal sight. The technology was overcome, but it meant being in the ground over an hour prior to kickoff.
During that hour, we chatted about football and non-footballing topics, while I answered a few emails and waited to see if all those familiar faces of pre-pandemic football returned to take up their seats too.
I took my eye off the wider expanse of the stadium for a while. At one stage Anfield looked no more populated than it had for that Palace game three months ago, but then I looked up from my phone to see it was suddenly around two-thirds full.
It took my breath away, and my phone was put back into my pocket. Now it was me who was feeling a lump at the back of my throat, and the potential for a tear or two.
It was the many pre-match tributes that were made before kickoff that finally broke my resistance. My thoughts also drifted to my dad’s brother, my uncle Dave, who we lost amongst this absolute shitshow of a pandemic.
A win was procured, and it felt good. Not just because it means we keep pace as the new season gets out of the blocks, but because once the game was up and running, it almost felt like I hadn’t been away at all.
Soon my dad was complaining about our midfield and I knew all was at one with the world, at least for 90 minutes of football.
Even the rough that came with the smooth was very welcome.
I quite enjoyed somebody kicking the back of my seat, I didn’t mind the surreptitious clouds of vape being blown in every direction by the fella diagonally and to the left. I didn’t even begrudge the Burnley supporters their hackneyed songs.
Goals were celebrated, songs were sung, hugs were dispensed. Every experience was hypersensitive, and it felt wonderful.
This is still an uncertain time that we live in, there is no guarantee it won’t all turn to shit once again, but Saturday was one of the best days of my life, and I’ll embrace every game I get to share with my dad as if it were the very first, all over again.
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We've had a refresh ahead of the new campaign, but you can still mark your cards for our preview show before the weekend's action, and our Monday review show summing up all the talking points, featuring verdicts from Sky Sports' pundits, writers, and Sky Sports News reporters.
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Liverpool have one game left before both the transfer window shuts and the international break starts – so this is the beginning of a busy week!Shaqiri sold and Woodburn exits on loan
Two attackers will no longer be part of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad this season – or at all, for one of them.
Xherdan Shaqiri has completed his move to Ligue 1 side Lyon, a deal worth around £9.5m to the Reds seeing him join the likes of Wijnaldum, Grujic and Wilson in leaving permanently this summer, pushing the income from transfers the Reds have received above the £40m mark.
The versatile 21-year-old shone in pre-season but really needs some senior action in a positive loan deal this time and he’s off to Hearts for the campaign.Salah call-up blocked and Brazilian trio to follow
International breaks aren’t just an irritation because of the travel, timings and fact national teams are regularly set to play three matches again.
Now we’ve also got Covid restrictions to worry about once more, with England still having plenty of nations on the red list – meaning individuals must quarantine when they return from them, including sportspeople.
Mohamed Salah‘s call-up for Egypt, therefore, has reportedly been blocked by the Reds as the nation is indeed still on the red list, though there are mixed views on whether he can play one of the games in Gabon.
By the same token, Liverpool‘s three Brazilians – Fab, Ali and Bob – are likely to face a call-up for World Cup qualifiers against Argentina, Peru and Chile, but all four of those countries remain on England’s red list. Expect further developments and negotiations during the course of the week.Latest Liverpool FC news
Latest transfer chat elsewhere
Joel Matip – Deep Pockets V3pic.twitter.com/dTtrG66RWl
— ? (@Bk8iP3) August 19, 2021
Tonight’s late fixture sees West Ham and Leicester face off in the Prem.
Liverpool forward Xherdan Shaqiri has completed a permanent move to Ligue 1 side Lyon.
Shaqiri will cost Lyon a fee of around £9.5m, marking a loss on the fee Liverpool paid Stoke for him in 2018, when they activated a £13.5m release clause in his contract.Saturday 28th August 5:00pm Kick off 5:30pm
Although the Switzerland international was able to claim a semi-regular role in his first season at Anfield, injuries cost him a lot of playing time over the last two completed seasons, meaning he leaves after just 45 Premier League appearances.
Shaqiri secured winners' medals in the Premier League, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup in his three seasons with the club.FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win against Burnley in the Premier League.
But his chances of first-team football looked slimmer this season with Diogo Jota firmly entrenched as one of Jurgen Klopp's attacking options alongside regulars Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
With Harvey Elliott, who started the 2-0 win over Burnley on Saturday, also emerging as an option for Klopp, it is Shaqiri who takes on a new challenge in France.Jurgen Klopp says he was not surprised by the level of performance from 18-year-old Harvey Elliott on his full Premier League debut for Liverpool in the 2-0 win against Burnley.
He becomes the second Premier League addition for Lyon after they secured Chelsea's Euro 2020 winner Emerson Palmieri on loan last week.
Their disappointing start to the season continued on Sunday when promoted Clermont came from 3-1 down to claim a point at the Groupama Stadium in added time.
They currently sit 16th in Ligue 1 and are without a win in their opening three games.Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports
You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.