As the senior team were labouring to a boring draw in the Europa League with German side FC Augsburg, there was high drama going down at Lookers Vauxhall Stadium as a Liverpool-U21 side peppered with first team faces came from behind to claim victory over their Middlesbrough counterparts with 18-year old winger Sheyi Ojo bagging a tidy brace with two second half goals — including a late penalty to seal the points.
“Sheyi has got a lot of potential,” said Reds U-21 boss Michael Beale following the final whistle. “Sheyi has really developed and is playing a much [more] mature game since he has come back from his successful loan spell in the Championship with Wolves,” he explained. “Let’s not forget he is still only 18 but he is more aware of what assets he can bring to a game and what his strengths are. He is also working very well at what we are asking him to do when he is out of possession, and I am really pleased with him.”
Video courtesy of LFC Ado Tuzla
Playing much of the match with 10-men after Cameron Brannagan was dismissed for a harsh red card early on, reserve ‘keeper Adam Bogdan saved a penalty, but could do nothing to keep out a smokin’ free-kick from Arnel Jakupovic as ‘Boro took the lead. A much improved display in the second half saw Liverpool in the ascendancy despite their numerical disadvantage, but it wasn’t until Ojo showed his skill on the flanks — and his ability to cut in and have a shot — that the Reds clawed level as the clock approached the hour mark. The two sides looked all set to call it a draw until a peach of a pass from Ryan Kent ended with Brooks Lennon being taken down in the box and the ref blowing up for another spot-kick that Ojo was more than happy to step up and convert.
“Sheyi has got a lot of potential and you always want more because that is the nature of football and we know what he is capable of,” continued Beale, knowing full well that first team boss Jurgen Klopp has already spoken about the lack of width available in his side. “He also scored a fantastic goal to get us level and I’m fully expecting him to get a lot more goals between now and the end of the season.”