Five Takeaways: Liverpool U18s 3-1 Arsenal U18s - Musialowski Magic and more

Five takeaways as Liverpool under-18s impress at Anfield as they book a place in the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup.
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The Liverpool youngsters booked a date with Ipswich Town in the FA Youth Cup semi-final on Friday night.

Showing no hangover from their 6-0 win just six days earlier, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson's side impressed during their victory at Anfield. 

Two goals in the first half from Max Woltman and James Norris saw the Reds go into the break with a comfortable lead before Mateusz Musialowski made it three shortly after the restart.

Miguel Azeez pulled one back for the North London visitors after Khayon Edwards was hauled down by Billy Koumetio, in what was a well-deserved goal as they sparked into life following the Polish forwards' third. 

In front of a 53,000-seater stadium, they weathered the onslaught from the Gunners with Azeez, Kido Taylor-Hart and Marcelo Flores coming close but Harvey Davies, most cases it was business as usual for the Reds keeper who comfortably dealt with any danger Arsenal flung his way, was mostly untroubled on the night. 

Musialowski Magic

With the Reds faithful lusting over recent performances, after he ended Mohamed Salah's goal of the month domination, Liverpool's promising Pole shown no signs of slowing the talk surrounding him.

He added to his brace against Middlesborough with arguably the pick of the goals on Friday for Bridge-Wilkinson's side combining with James Balagizi. 

Balagizi outmuscled Arsenal's Jack Henry-Francis in the centre of the park before bursting forward and handing the baton over the Musialowski, similar to his first against Boro in Kirkby, he twisted in and out before finding the far corner in front of the watchful eye of Premier League and Champions League-winning head coach Jurgen Klopp.

He was replaced by Melkamu Frauendorf shortly after the hour mark, the Reds U18s boss explained, "It was a tactical change, but I think he worked really hard, the game that he plays it is tough and really demanding. 

"The way the game changed, basically attack v defence, we decided to make that decision to bring on fresh legs."

Max Woltman's rich vein of form continues

It was lucky number 13 for the 17-year-old. Balagizi, once again, did brilliantly nodding into his path as he finished exquisitely, rounding off superb play from the youngsters.

He really has stepped up to the plate in the absence of Layton Stewart following his knee ligaments surgery, as the Liverpudlian watched on from the sidelines on crutches and a brace around his knee, Woltman continued to stake his claim as a serious contender to lead the line for the Reds. 

He did what was required of him on the night and the Reds development boss will undoubtedly be pleased with what he saw in the youngster's work rate and finishing ability.


READ MORE: MATCHDAY LIVE FT RESULT: Liverpool U18s 3-1 Arsenal U18 - FA Youth Cup, line-ups and match action


Balagizi Brilliance

As the Gunners highlighted Musialowski as a key threat, this opened up space in the pockets for Balagizi as well as Morton and Woltman. 

Not only was he key in the third goal but he played his part in all three of the Liverpool goals. 

He was instrumental in assisting Woltman and Musialowski goals but also he was one of the many standouts at Anfield with his power and ability not just on the ball, off it as well, providing a different outlet which was needed as they fell under the cosh in certain parts. 

Despite starting "slow" and "slugging", the 42-year-old was pleased with what he saw, "He was really good, they will fight and they will run and James brought in that side of the game as well. 

"He shows his quality with the ball but he puts in a right shift which is important in football."

Defensively Resolute

As the game turned in Arsenal's favour, they were forced to do a lot of defending and for large parts of the second half after the third goal, the Reds were on the backfoot.

Despite cynically bringing down Edwards for the Gunners only goal of the game, Billy Koumetio, alongside captain Jarell Quansah, defended brilliantly in important stages of the game which proved pivotal as the final whistle was blown. 

At one point during the final 45, the travelling contingent were up in arms appealing for a penalty, on no fewer than three occasions, one of these occasions was after a superb last-ditch tackle from the Liverpool skipper to deny Kido Taylor-Hart, the Arsenal forward ghosted between two Reds shirts only to be thwarted by the sliding Quansah. 

As for 'Billy the Kid', he was instrumental in his defensive duties resisting the Gunners aerial threat whilst heaving his stature in front of the visitor's attempts on goal as well as cutting out crosses and passes when called upon.

Full-backs Norris and Conor Bradley equally played their part as Ken Gillard's side sought to utilise the wide areas only to be met by grit and determination of the Liverpudlian and Northern Irish defenders. 

One Step Closer

Thomas Parson's full-time whistle was met with roars by the Liverpool contingent as they celebrated their victory.

It was hugs all around from the Reds as they overcame the seven-time Youth Cup winners.

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson said it wasn't a 'complete performance', but it's safe to say the youngsters impressively saw off the London opposition and you could tell what it meant to those associated with the 18s as the game was brought to a conclusion. 

It's hard to pinpoint where they put a foot wrong, barring some nervy defending in the opening stages, but they fought until the end and got what they richly deserved.

Ipswich Town await in the bid for number five, but first the Rams are in town on Tuesday.