Harry Wilson revealed his determination to make up for lost time after netting both goals for Liverpool U23s in their 2-0 win over West Ham United on Monday.
The 20-year-old completed 90 minutes for the second time since returning from an Achilles injury as Neil Critchley’s table-toppers made it five straight victories in Premier League 2.
Wilson produced two outstanding finishes in the first half and looked sharp as the young Reds produced another excellent display.
After scoring 28 goals for the U23s in 2016-17, Wilson is now eager to build on last season, which included his first-team debut and regular chances to train at Melwood.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “I missed a large chunk of pre-season through injury, which was disappointing for me, and tonight was only my second 90 minutes since May, so for me it’s about getting minutes and getting strong again, and scoring goals.
“Last season was a great one for me and I needed it after missing a large part of the previous year.
“This season is about improving myself as a player and trying to get into the first-team squad, because that’s what I want to do at the end of the day.”
Reflecting on the win over the Hammers, the forward admitted it was important for the team’s confidence to keep their 100 per cent record going.
“We are happy that we have won the game but we are disappointed we didn’t score three, four or five because we had the chances to,” he added.
“I thought in the first half especially we played some great football, got the 2-0 lead and we could have scored a lot more.
“I was a bit disappointed not to get a hat-trick. I had a few chances in the second half, one on my right side and one on my left, but I can’t complain with two goals and a clean sheet.”
With an Anfield outing to come against Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night, Wilson is hoping the U23s can maintain their high standards and give another glimpse of their talents.
He said: “We have started the league season really well. That was only my second league game and the lads had three great wins before that, including a couple away from home, so it gives us a great platform.
“We are confident with the quality we have in the team that when we go forward we can create chances and score goals.”
Ahead of Liverpool's Carabao Cup clash with Leicester City we got an expert view on the form of the Foxes from Rob Tanner, correspondent for the Leicester Mercury.
The sides, who will also meet in the Premier League on Saturday, face off in the tournament’s third round at King Power Stadium tonight.
Read on for Rob’s detailed lowdown on what the Reds can expect from their opponents, how Leicester are likely to line up and why the home crowd will demand progress…
How would you summarise Leicester’s form so far?
Steady, if not spectacular.
They were handed a very difficult opening six fixtures with away trips to Arsenal and Manchester United, plus home games against Chelsea and Liverpool, as well as facing two of the newly-promoted clubs, but while the results have not arrived, the performances have been promising.
They should have got something from Arsenal having led 3-2 with very little time left, and they frustrated United for 70 minutes. They also could have taken something from the Chelsea game.
They dismantled Brighton and it was only at Huddersfield on Saturday that they were truly below par, but they still took a point.
Have their performances deserved more than four points?
I think so, although there are obviously areas to improve on. They have been caught out at set-pieces on occasions, especially at Arsenal on the opening day. They look like they can score goals and new signing Harry Maguire has been excellent at the back, but City are still looking for that dynamism they had two years ago. When they start to play sides expected to be round about them in the table I think more points will follow.
Talk us through Leicester’s style of play under Craig Shakespeare…
Very similar to what it was before. They play 4-4-2, try to soak up pressure and then break quickly on the counter-attack. Jamie Vardy is still the main threat in attack and Mahrez is still the player to watch because he can conjure up some magic just when you think he isn’t on his game. He is a match-winner. But, overall, City still have the same identity under Shakespeare.
Has the starting XI been improved by the club’s summer transfer business?
Time will tell because we haven’t seen many of the new signings yet. Injuries have delayed the appearances of Kelechi Iheanacho and Vicente Iborra, while Adrien Silva is still hoping to be given clearance by FIFA to complete his move from Sporting. City have lost Danny Drinkwater and have never really recovered from losing N’Golo Kante, both to Chelsea. Wilfred Ndidi is a promising young midfielder and they have reliable figures in Matty James and Andy King, but it will be interesting to see if Iborra and Silva can strengthen City’s midfield.
What kind of importance do you expect Shakespeare to give the Carabao Cup?
A cup win would be fantastic for City and would be a realistic way of reaching Europe again, which Shakespeare has said will be the aim, but it is the FA Cup that City fans would love to see their heroes lift. The club has never won the FA Cup. The League Cup holds some fond memories for everyone from their frequent final visits under Martin O’Neill, so while I don’t expect Shakespeare to put out his strongest team, the fans will still want progress.
Is he likely to make changes? Who might come into the side, if so?
He will use it as an opportunity to give much-needed game time to Robert Huth and Aleksandar Dragovic at centre-back. Both are lacking fitness so it will be crucial for them to play. Iborra also needs a game in midfield and should come in. Demarai Gray and Ahmed Musa will be on the flanks, I expect, while in attack Islam Slimani and Leonardo Ulloa have had little match time so far. It will be a very different-looking City side to the one that will face Liverpool again in the league.
Where do you think this match will be won and lost?
City tend to have problems against sides who pack the midfield. Their system leaves them outnumbered at times, but it does give them more potency in wide areas and Gray is a special player. He links well down the left with Chilwell.
What is your prediction for the game?
I think this will go all the way to extra-time and possibly even penalties. Then it is a lottery, but I will pick City to shade it.
The Reds have previously been linked to the young French defender, and reports have again emerged suggesting he interests the Anfield club.
Liverpool’s defensive woes haven’t been a secret over the last few seasons, and the sheer volume of players the club is linked with who feature across the back four only amplifies that fact.
The latest name in the frame is RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, a powerful defender who can feature both centrally in the back line and as a holding midfielder.
6 – Dayot Upamecano has lost the possession only 6 times, less than any other starting player, & has not conceded a single foul. Impressive. pic.twitter.com/SpZ3IKQOCR
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) September 13, 2017
Bild report (via Mirror) that Jurgen Klopp‘s side have been tracking Upamecano since he switched RB Salzburg for Leipzig in January—though in truth rumours over Anfield interest started out before that move.
There was early speculation that Liverpool thought highly of the then-17-year-old, but that any move would have been difficult as the natural step-up from the Austrian league would be the intra-RB transfer to Leipzig and the Bundesliga.
Upamecano has been a resilient and consistent performer at his new club, almost exclusively at centre-back, while he featured in front of the back four for Salzburg in the early part of 2016/17—arguably another position the Reds need to look at reinforcements for.
Bild further report that RBL are to offer an improved contract to the teenager, with a €100 million release clause.
RB Leipzig is not new territory for Liverpool’s scouting department.
Naby Keita is already set to join next summer after the Reds agreed an early deal on his 2018 release clause, while centre-forward Timo Werner has been an oft-mentioned option who Klopp rates highly.
Emil Forsberg was also once thought to be a target for Liverpool, a rumour which has since gone quiet, while to continue the links, RB Leipzig’s goalkeeper is former Reds backup stopper Peter Gulacsi.
More: Jurgen Klopp, Naby Keita, RB Leipzig, Rumour Mill, Timo Werner
More from This Is Anfield Fan Comments
Daniel Sturridge could extend his outstanding League Cup goalscoring record for Liverpool against Leicester City tonight.
To find out the Reds striker's current goals-to-games ratio, plus nine more key pre-match facts courtesy of club statistician Ged Rea, read on...
Sturridge has scored eight goals in eight appearances in this competition for Liverpool.
Overall, Sturridge has netted 99 goals in his club career, with 61 of those coming for the Reds.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has netted six times in 13 career League Cup appearances.
The Reds have only met Leicester once before in this competition, winning 4-1 in a third-round tie in October 1986. Gary McAllister played for the Foxes that evening.
In total, Liverpool have played against the Foxes 11 times over both domestic cups, progressing five times from the previous seven ties.
Georginio Wijnaldum could play the 50th game of his Reds career tonight.
Jordan Henderson has played more League Cup games for the club (20) than any other current member of Jürgen Klopp's squad.
Ragnar Klavan netted the only goal of his Liverpool career to date in the 3-0 win over Derby County at this stage of last season's competition.
The Reds have won 11 of their last 14 away games in the League Cup.
Klopp's side have scored in 20 of their last 22 games in league and cup.
Danny Ward's 16-month wait for a competitive Liverpool appearance is set to end tonight – and the goalkeeper is eager and ready to grasp the opportunity.
The 24-year-old returned to the Reds this summer after a season-long loan spell with Huddersfield Town that saw him star as promotion to the Premier League was secured via the Championship play-offs.
Jürgen Klopp was sufficiently impressed to retain his services for the new campaign and add the Welshman into the mix at Melwood alongside Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius.
The former is established as the club’s first-choice stopper while the latter was fielded against Arsenal and Sevilla at Anfield, and now Ward’s patience will be rewarded as Liverpool face Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.
“I’m good to go,” the No.52 declared to Liverpoolfc.com after the manager confirmed he is going to start the third-round tie at King Power Stadium this evening.
“I had a little knock in pre-season, trouble with my back, which held me back for 10 days or so. But since then I’ve been training absolutely fine, I played the game in pre-season and I’ve been working hard on the training pitch to wait and see if I get a chance.
“I’ve not played a competitive game since [the play-off final at] Wembley, so I’m excited. And I’m excited to pull on the Liverpool shirt again after such a long time.”
Since his last Reds runout, at Swansea City in the Premier League in May 2016, Ward has represented Wales at the European Championship and, as mentioned, played an integral role in Huddersfield’s return to the top flight.
That eventful year away from Liverpool followed on from previous productive loan stays with Aberdeen and Morecambe for a goalkeeper who has never been short of confidence.
The difference now, according to the custodian himself, is consistency.
“Those experiences will help me because it gives you the reassurance in yourself that you know you can play at a big level on a big occasion and produce what you know you can,” he said.
“You obviously don’t know until you’ve been in that environment. I like to think it’ll hold me in good stead for the future.
“Playing more games obviously helps that; I’ve always been a big believer, even before my first loan at Morecambe, that you learn when you’re in that cauldron.
“I’ve been lucky that I’ve had loans that have gradually gone up – a month at Morecambe, six months at Aberdeen… and you learn more and more each time. It’s like a building block, what you learn from your first loan you take into your next loan and it carries on.
“It led to last year at Huddersfield, where I had a whole year playing nearly 50 games. It was brilliant for me because it gives you the chance to play on a consistent basis and that’s where you try to bring a consistent performance as well.”
Klopp’s intentions with regards to his goalkeepers have been clear from the first day of pre-season.
“We have young goalkeepers in the best age and they all are ready to play. We have to use this situation for the good of the club and the team,” the manager reiterated last week.
It’s a sentiment the trio of glovesmen agree with.
“The three of us go about our business and work hard. We all know the situation – there is only one shirt and one place in the team,” said Ward.
“It’s very different to any other position on the pitch and we know we’re all fighting for one place. It’s healthy competition, which is going to improve all of us.
“We all do the same training and we push each other on in training. Mentally, you’ve got to keep yourself prepared and be ready for the chance when it comes around. Keep going in training and don’t let your standards drop, even if the chances are you’re not going to be involved at the weekend.
“You’ve got to try to keep intact and wait for your chance to come around.
“It doesn’t just benefit you – it benefits the lads who are around you as well. Ultimately, the three of us have got to try to produce the best goalkeeper that we can, along with John [Achterberg], to give Liverpool the best goalkeeper we can possibly have for the season.”
As Ward attested himself, chances such as his at Leicester are inherently different for a goalkeeper than an outfield player.
So how can he go about making an impression against the Foxes?
“It’s staying concentrated,” the Welshman replied.
“The way we play, we have a lot of the ball and you might not be involved for a good few minutes. It’s making sure you’re organising people in front of you, being switched on and being alert to any threats.
“You’ve got to believe in your own ability in terms of shot-stopping and coming for crosses.
“Again, it is mentality – concentration and making sure everyone is doing their jobs in front of you, and it keeps you in the game if you’re talking to your back four for the 90 minutes.”
Although Klopp is expected to rotate his squad for the trip to King Power Stadium, the boss was at pains to stress Liverpool’s commitment to trying to win the League Cup for a ninth time when he previewed the game on Monday.
Ward joined the club shortly before the Reds claimed the trophy in 2012 – their most recent piece of silverware – and therefore acutely understands the will to end the wait for further success.
“When we won the Carling Cup, I had only just signed so I got a taste of the winning mentality Liverpool have got. We’re obviously disappointed not to have won more trophies since then,” he reflected.
“But every competition we go in, we go in with a view of trying to win it. There’s no point in turning up and making up the numbers, you’ve got to go in believing you can win the whole competition.”
Not that anybody is underestimating the opening obstacle on the course.
“Everyone can recognise Leicester have got quality after winning the league,” Ward warned.
“It takes some real quality, hard work and determination – which they have got bags of. You’ve seen that in the early part of this year, they are full of energy and have some high-quality players.
“They are things you get in the Premier League, which we’re going to have to deal with. Even though it’s a cup competition it’s Premier League opposition – top opposition with Champions League experience. You know you’re going to be in for a game when you go there.”
Trips to Leicester have not been kind to Liverpool recently, with the Foxes winning the last two meetings, and another defeat would only crank up the pressure further on Klopp and his players.
This is the least important competition for Liverpool this season, but any chance of winning a trophy should be seized.
Klopp will make changes to his side, in order to keep certain individuals fresh, and if his fringe players are not switched on, another long night at the King Power could await.
This is the first of two clashes at Leicester in the space of five days—back-to-back victories would really calm the current mood at Anfield.
Last Meeting: Leicester City 3-1 LiverpoolTeam News
Klopp made seven alterations on Saturday, and more of the same is expected on Tuesday night.
This is a good opportunity to give key men a rest and allow squad players the chance to shine, and it will be a decent gauge of just how much depth there is now.
Foxes boss Craig Shakespeare is also likely to switch things up somewhat, with Jamie Vardy one of those who won’t play, following injury at Huddersfield Town at the weekend.
Robert Huth, Christian Fuchs and Matty James are also unavailable.Last 5 at Leicester (All Competitions)
Leicester 3-1 Liverpool – February 27, 2017 (Vardy x2, Drinkwater; Coutinho)
Leicester 2-0 Liverpool – February 2, 2016 (Vardy x2)
Leicester 1-3 Liverpool – December 2, 2014 (Mignolet OG; Lallana, Gerrard, Henderson)
Leicester 0-0 Liverpool – March 28, 2004
Leicester 1-4 Liverpool – October 20, 2001 (Wise; Fowler x3, Hyypia)
Away fans’ pubs: The Counting House in Freemen’s Common has a nice mix of both home and away fans, and is on the way to the ground. The same applies to the Soaring Eagle Spur Steak and Grill, which is located over the road from the stadium itself.Form
Leicester – Last five results (all competitions)
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
ADVERTISINGDid You Know?
Robbie Fowler’s final goal of his first spell at Liverpool came at Leicester’s former ground Filbert Street on October 20, 2001. The legendary Red scored a hat-trick that day.Klopp’s View
Klopp spoke positively about Grujic and Oxlade-Chamberlain, on the eve of them both starting for the Reds:
“Marko Grujic made a big step in his development, but nobody could see it so far. It’s really good to give him the opportunity.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Alex to go in. Since he joined it’s been pretty difficult to train on different things because it’s game after game after game.
“He also had a wonderful impact when he came on in the last game [against Burnley].”TV & Live Blog Info
The match is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 7:30pm (BST), with kickoff at 7:45pm.
Our matchday live blog will be in full flow from 7pm, with Ben Twelves in charge of talking you through what we hope is a memorable Liverpool win.
Jürgen Klopp has confirmed there will be starts for Marko Grujic, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Ward against Leicester City this evening.
Ward gets his first chance between the posts this term, having returned to Liverpool following a successful season on loan with Huddersfield Town, as the Premier League sides face off in the Carabao Cup.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is set for a maiden start since joining the Reds from Arsenal on transfer deadline day, while midfielder Grujic earns an opportunity after he ‘made a big step in his development’ according to the manager.
The third-round tie at King Power Stadium could provide an opportunity for Jon Flanagan, too, with the defender to be part of Klopp’s matchday squad and ‘in the mix, for sure’.
Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren is expected to be available for the cup contest after dropping out of the XI on Saturday due to a sore back, and Danny Ings could come into contention having not being involved in the U23s’ win at West Ham United on Monday.
Craig Shakespeare has fitness issues to contend with as four Leicester first-team players look likely to miss out on the sides’ first meeting of two this week.
Jamie Vardy has not been ruled out but will have a groin problem assessed before a decision is made on his involvement, the Foxes boss explained to the media ahead of the tie.
“He has had continuous treatment and we will give him every opportunity to be fit but he won’t be one to risk,” said Shakespeare. “We will assess him [on Tuesday morning], but I am very confident he will be fit for Saturday.”
Christian Fuchs (eye) and Matty James (Achilles) are unavailable, while defender Robert Huth is expected to miss out after ankle surgery in the summer.
“Probably when Alex was 18 or 19 people thought he could be ‘the man’, like people have thought a lot of times pretty early.
“Then you immediately put a rucksack [of pressure] on their back, it makes development [harder].
“Hide them as long as makes sense, send them out as soon as possible, that’s the plan.
“Now he’s in the perfect age and still able to make big steps, and how I thought he played in the last game [was] like a Liverpool player.
“Highest intensity, all good, was involved, was not fixed in a position, flexible, half left, half right, in the box, stuff like this.
“So I already saw a lot things, and at the end he didn’t hit a goal so probably a lot of people will say that’s a proper Liverpool player!
“But I’m really happy to have him here, and I hope he is also happy to be here.”
Speaking a year ago, Arsene Wenger addressed Oxlade-Chamberlain’s slow progress at the Emirates Stadium, proffering that “maybe he doesn’t completely believe in himself as to how good he can be.”
While Klopp suggested he was not in a position to agree or disagree with Wenger at this stage, the 50-year-old said it made “complete sense” for the midfielder to leave Arsenal.
“I think it would be strange if I were to say something about a player after two-and-a-half weeks when Arsene Wenger worked together with him for six or seven years,” Klopp added.
“But a new start is very often, kind of, a relief.
“You are in a situation with your old club—I don’t say for Alex especially, but in general it’s like this—you’re in a specific position and you accept it on some point.
“It’s difficult to make the next step, that’s how it is. I thought it made complete sense for Alex to change club, and especially to come here.
“So far, I can see that he’s settled in perfectly. He knew at least all of the England players, and a few others.
“And he’s a really nice lad, so it’s easy for him to settle into a team.
“He takes the situation like it is, he knows he played all the games for Arsenal from the beginning.
“And now he’s coming here and sitting on the bench, it looks like ‘oh, it was not the best decision’.
“But it’s about a long-term thing, and we can already use him, that’s good, but we also want to prepare him. That’s all, it’s all good from this side in the moment.”
Klopp has been easing the 24-year-old into action as he adjusts to the demands of his system, and the trip to the King Power Stadium provides him with a vital opportunity.
It is another small step, after three cameos appearances so far, but it will be another hugely beneficial one as Oxlade-Chamberlain looks to make his name with Liverpool.
Jürgen Klopp was quizzed on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's prospective development, his squad's capability to deal with multiple competitions and the pressure of playing at Anfield in the embargoed section of his press conference on Monday.
Read on for a full transcript of the boss' thoughts ahead of the Reds' trip to face Leicester City in the Carabao Cup.
Oxlade-Chamberlain said he came here to develop as a player, how do you plan to help him achieve that?
"A new start is, very often, kind of a relief. You are in a situation in your old club - I don’t say it now for Alex especially but in general it's like this - you are in a specific position and you accept it at some point and then it’s difficult to make the next step. I thought it made complete sense for Alex to change club, especially to come here. So far, I can see that he has settled in perfectly. He knew at least all of the England players and a few others and he's a really nice lad so it is easy for him to settle in the team. He takes the situation like it is. He knows he played all the games for Arsenal from the beginning and now he's coming here and sitting on the bench - it looks like it was not the best deicision. But it’s about a long-term and we already can use him, that's good, but we want to prepare him also, that’s all. It's all good from this side at the moment."
Can your squad deal with the League Cup as well as other commitments?
"From today's perspective, yes - we will see how it is in January. What is my alternative? To go to Leicester with a white flag? Or say, 'If you want to go to the semi-finals in January, then do it because we don't want to be part of it'. We had a few line-ups and everything was good in the last few years when we went through this competition in different games and then, at one point, we didn't have the opportunity to line up the strongest side and [people said I did not] respect the cup competitions. That's obviously not so nice. In this moment, we have the players for it and I think the squad is wide enough to play in different competitions and to come as far as possible and that's the plan at the moment. No player who is involved tomorrow is involved because I hope we go out of this competition. We are really there to win the game. It will be difficult enough but this competition is good. The final was good when we played there, the semi-final last year with Southampton [came at] the wrongest possible moment but we couldn't change that. We will see how it is in January but, in this moment, I feel quite comfortable when I think about different opportunities to use the players and to bring the players in different games."
What did you say to Oxlade-Chamberlain about how he could improve?
"I’m not sure if it’s something for the public when I speak to a player. We play different to Arsenal, that's clear. It doesn't mean better or worse it just means different. At least, being involved in different football is already development because it helps you to react in different moments, so that’s doing not always the same [thing]. Arsenal changed a lot since Oxlade is there, I'm sure they didn't play always with three at the back and wing-backs and stuff like this. I played against Arsenal when Alex was in centre-mid, I played against Alex when he was on the wing, I played against Arsenal when he was wing-back. He played different positions and that is all highest quality; if you can play in the Premier League on different position it says a lot about you. It is a judgement from outside that you don't develop but playing different positions is already development. Probably, when Alex was 18 or 19 people thought he could be 'the man', like a lot of people think a lot of times pretty early. But, as I always say, you immediately put a rucksack on their back and that makes development not easy. So, hide them as long as it makes sense and send them out as soon as possible. That's the plan. But he is now the perfect age and still is able to make big steps. I thought he played in the last game like a Liverpool player - highest intensity, all good, was not fixed in a position, flexible, half-left, half-right, in the box. I saw already a lot of things and, at the end, he didn't score a goal so probably a lot of people will say that's not a proper Liverpool player. But I’m really happy to have him here and I hope he is also happy to be here."
The next four fixtures are away from home - what impact will that have on your side's form?
"I love playing at home, we all do. So, no, it’s not cool that we now play four away games in a row. I think everybody can feel it, can hear it, that's how it is. It's [up to] us to deliver, we have to deliver, we know that. If we win the game on Saturday three or four nil, it would have been outstanding, but we went 1-0 down. But there was a big [reaction], especially the Kop was there with 'We Are Liverpool'. We had the similar situation against Sevilla - [conceding an] early goal is not cool but the reaction from the stand was outstanding. We equalised in both games, one game we took the lead but I couldn’t feel a lot of frustration after the first Champions League game around me, [I'm] not sure how it was but I didn't feel it. Burnley, people were not too happy, that’s normal but we cannot do more than give our best. I'm sure this team can make the people happy more often than we did it so far. If you want, you can enjoy watching this football team, that’s how it is in all the games so far. Yes, we have to improve results-wise, but I think if the video ref would be involved in England too we would have had for sure two points more and maybe four. That’s how it is. Just my example, my former club Dortmund played yesterday, and they got a goal from the video ref that was not even a goal... funny! That’s the next level, you don't have to score and we get it with the video ref! We have to perform and we have to deliver, we know, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. It's all good, we love playing at Anfield, no doubt about it."
— Jake Joe (@AcademyLFC) September 18, 2017
Wilson’s shot made its way into the far corner from the right-hand side of the penalty area, although there were question marks about the goalkeeping. It was a happy return to the side for the 20-year-old, following an achilles injury.
The goalscorer nearly doubled the lead shortly after, firing over from close-range, but he had his second almost immediately.
It was a superb finish after a delightful first touch, and his quality left you wondering why he hasn’t been afforded more first-team opportunities by Jurgen Klopp.
West Ham should have been back in it with 24 minutes on the clock, after a reckless challenge by Conor Masterson earned the hosts a penalty. Kamil Grabara made the stop to deny Toni Martinez, though.
— Jake Joe (@AcademyLFC) September 18, 2017
Matty Virtue and Corey Whelan both had good chances to make it 3-0 before the break, and Liverpool were in complete control when the half-time whistle blew.
Brewster hit the side-netting after the restart, as the Reds continued their dominance, and Wilson was denied his hat-trick after a top save by Trott.
The second-half well less eventful in general, though, with West Ham doing very little to worry Liverpool’s defence.
Brewster’s strike was comfortably stopped by Trott midway through the second-half, and the busy goalkeeper then kept out Herbie Kane’s looping header.
— Jake Joe (@AcademyLFC) September 18, 2017
Wilson again had a wonderful opportunity to score his third of the night, but his strike was tame with his weaker right foot.
It was an extremely convincing performance by Critchley’s youngsters, who remain top of the table. Next up is
Liverpool: Grabara, Whelan, Masterson, Phillips, Johnston (Juanma 72′), Virtue, Kane, Brannagan (Dhanda 69′), Ejaria, Wilson, Brewster (Adekanye 83′).
Subs: Kelleher, Jones.
A first-half double from Harry Wilson ensured Liverpool U23s maintained their 100 per cent start to the Premier League 2 season with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United on Monday.
Neil Critchley’s side travelled to Dagenham looking to record a fifth consecutive league victory - and they duly did just that in impressive fashion, despite the absence of the likes of Danny Ings, Ben Woodburn and Marko Grujic ahead of the first team’s game at Leicester City on Tuesday.
Wilson struck twice in the opening 21 minutes at the Chigwell Construction Stadium - his first a low drive from the edge of the area and his second a neat finish to round off a delightful team move - before Kamil Grabara made a brilliant penalty save to preserve Liverpool’s lead before the break.
Herbie Kane and the lively Rhian Brewster both went close to extending the young Reds’ advantage and West Ham goalkeeper Nathan Trott made two excellent stops to prevent Wilson from completing his hat-trick in the second half.
But that mattered little, as Liverpool - who play Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Friday evening - continued their perfect opening to the campaign.
The visitors took the game to their hosts right from the first whistle and Ovie Ejaria forced the home ‘keeper into a save with just 11 seconds on the clock.
Brewster raced onto Matty Virtue’s lofted throughball and unselfishly pulled back to the onrushing Ejaria, whose low shot was palmed away by Trott.
But the young Reds didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring through Wilson.
Trott initially made a fine save to deny Brewster but, after Ejaria and Cameron Brannagan kept the ball alive from Wilson’s corner, the young Welshman cut in on his left foot and rifled a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
And nine minutes later, Wilson had his second when he finished coolly after linking up with Brewster to devastating effect as part of a sweeping Liverpool move.
West Ham were offered a route back into the game almost immediately when Conor Masterson conceded a penalty, but Grabara kept Liverpool’s two-goal lead intact with a stunning save low to his right from Toni Martinez’s spot-kick.
Critchley’s team could have taken full advantage of that reprieve in first-half stoppage time, but Kane blazed over the bar after being set up by Wilson.
Liverpool twice went close to extending their advantage early in the second half, with Brewster flashing a powerful left-footed drive narrowly wide and Wilson being denied his third by Trott’s fingertip save after an eye-catching dribble.
And Trott again got down well to thwart another Wilson attempt and then made sprawling save to claw away substitute Yan Dhanda’s effort in stoppage time as the young Reds eased to a comfortable win.
Liverpool: Grabara, Whelan, Phillips, Masterson, Johnston (Juanma), Virtue, Brannagan (Dhanda), Kane, Ejaria, Wilson, Brewster (Adekanye).
Unused subs: Kelleher, Jones.
[embedded content]The Reds’ XI vs. the Foxes
Liverpool’s impressive squad depth gives Klopp plenty of potential ways to ensure his team is rotated but still strong for their first domestic cup clash this season.
The boss could therefore name a side which hands game time to squad players, but also allows refreshed regulars a chance to gain rhythm and form ahead of some vital league and European games.
With this in mind, the incoming Ward could play behind a back four of Gomez, Lovren, Klavan and Robertson—providing the Croatian overcomes injury, which would be ideal to give the so-far ever-present Joel Matip a rest.
A powerful midfield could be formed by reenergised duo Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum joining Grujic—poised for his first start since last October—and this would see Oxlade-Chamberlain start in attack.
The new man could feature on the right, with Coutinho—who needs minutes to build sharpness—from the left, with the duo flanking fellow possible full debutant Solanke, who deserves a start after bright cameos.
In this case, this is how Liverpool’s XI would look:
Tuesday’s game gives Klopp a chance to experiment with selection and formation, and having recently suggested he could change shape this cup clash presents the ideal chance to do it.
There are plenty of ways to go, but given the personnel available—particularly in midfield and attack—Klopp could deploy his team in an exciting 4-4-2 diamond setup to get the best of both.
Starting with the need for goals, Solanke and Sturridge could play in tandem—affording the senior striker another runout to find form ahead of the upcoming run, for which he will certainly be needed.
Oxlade-Chamberlain could operate as chief supplier to the front pair at the tip of the diamond, with Milner captaining the Reds from the base, and the refreshed Wijnaldum and Grujic in box-to-box duties.
A back four of Gomez and Robertson at full-back and Klavan and Matip at centre-back—if Lovren fails to recover—could provide protection ahead of Ward.
If so, the Reds would look like this at the King Power:
Cup competitions arguably present Liverpool’s best chance of silverware this season, and Klopp’s side need a positive start to keep those hopes alive—as well as to spark an upturn in results.
Last Updated: 18/09/17 10:46pmJurgen Klopp says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain needs time to settle in at Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will need time to get to grips with Liverpool's style of play.
The £40m deadline-day signing is in line for a first Reds start at Leicester in Tuesday's Carabao up tie, live on Sky Sports.Leicester vs Liverpool
September 19, 2017, 7:30pm
Klopp has so far restricted the former Arsenal man to just 57 minutes across three substitute appearances - 45 of those in a damage-limitation exercise at Manchester City following Sadio Mane's red card.
And ahead of the Leicester game, he said: "We are working on it. We are obviously together with him and the analysts to show him how we want to play him in this position and in that position.
"So there is work to do but there is no rush. That is how it is but it is really good that he is here.Oxlade-Chamberlain has played 57 minutes across three substitute appearances under Klopp
"Of course it is always better - and next year it will be like this - if a new player comes in for the [start of] the season at least, if not for the pre-season. That would be even better.
"When the season starts, now we are really in this three-games-per-week rhythm and during the international break he was with the national team. So it is not easy and it takes time.
"But already at the weekend [against Burnley], he came on in a difficult situation and he did really well."
Klopp is convinced Oxlade-Chamberlain made the right call in leaving Arsenal for Anfield but dismissed suggestions the 24-year-old's development stalled at the Emirates.
He said: "I thought it made complete sense for Alex to change club and to come here.Tuesday's Super 6
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"He played all the games for Arsenal from the beginning and now he comes here and is on the bench so it looks, 'Oh, not the best decision', but it is a long-term thing. We want to use him and to prepare him also. It is all good from this side at the moment.
"Arsenal changed a lot since Arsene is there. I am sure they didn't always play with three at the back and with wing-backs and so Alex played in different positions when he was there.
"It is the highest quality if you can play in different positions in the Premier League. That says a lot about you. The judgement from outside may be that you don't develop but playing different positions is development.Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists he does not feel pressure but sees the opportunity to win a cup competition in the EFL Cup. The German is also unfazed by the Manchester clubs' strong start to the season.
"Probably when Alex was 18 or 19 people thought he would be 'the man' - as people think a lot of times pretty early - and immediately you put a rucksack on their back. That makes development not easy.
"He's at a perfect age and is still able to make big steps."