Chelsea’s development squad fell to defeat against Liverpool in PL2 this afternoon.
It was a game to forget for our youngsters who endured a tough 10 minute spell where Liverpool scored three goals from three set-pieces.
The first was after 14 minutes when a header from a corner-kick found the top corner, before a wide free-kick caught all by surprise creeping in at the near post. Liverpool’s final goal came shortly after and was from 12 yards as the damage was done early by the Reds.
A much better second-half showing earned a goal back for the young Blues through Bryan Fiabema’s spot-kick but proved to be no more than a consolation for an afternoon’s work.
The young Blues
Andy Myers was without Tino Livramento, Lewis Bate and Myles Peart-Harris ahead of this afternoon’s game. In came Baba Rahman at left-back and Danny Drinkwater in midfield while Tino Anjorin and Fiabema were in attack from the start with George Nunn on the bench.
Early rough patch
A cold and wet Liverpool Academy provided the venue for this afternoon’s PL2 action and after 11 minutes Lucas Bergstrom was called into action to make a good double save. The first was from Jake Cain who got a shot away from the left before the rebound dropped for Jack Bearne who squeezed the ball on target through the legs of Dynel Simeu, Bergstrom was there again to make the stop.
Our keeper was unable to stop Rhys Williams from opening the scoring three minutes later though, the tall Liverpool defender was first to react to a corner-kick and rose highest to power a header home inside the opening quarter.
It got worse for our young Blues who found themselves further behind four minutes later. Cain stepped up to take a free-kick on the left, which he looked certain to cross, but caught all by surprise when he hit the target doubling Liverpool’s lead.
Chelsea’s first attempt on goal came from distance and it was a strike by Fiabema which gave us an opening sight of goal.
However Liverpool were straight up the other end and awarded a penalty-kick after Bergstrom caught Bearne who had advanced into the box. Liam Millar fired low to the right to convert from the spot.
We had worked to settle the game for the minutes that remained of the half, with Myers making some tactical tweaks to our formation. It seemed to give us more freedom in attack as the search for a goal before half time intensified, however we entered the break trailing by three.
Improved second half
We returned unchanged from the break and with started to move with clear attacking intent. Dion Rankine was seeing plenty of the ball on the right but it was from the left where we should have taken the chance to get back into the game.
Marcel Lewis stood over a free-kick which he whipped to the back post, Anjorin was free and waiting to apply the finishing touches to what seemed a routine move, but the midfielder frustratingly volleyed the wide of the target from such close range.
Rankine retained possession well on the right and found Drinkwater in a deeper position. The midfielder picked out the run of Baba at the back post and he met the ball well but Vitezslav Jaros made a good stop to deny us a foot back into the game. We were still three goals behind after 70 minutes.
As Liverpool were comfortable with their lead it was all Chelsea on the ball and our hosts were limited to rare counter-attacks, most of which were well dealt with by our defence.
Ben Elliott was introduced for his PL2 debut in place of Anjorin shortly after we entered the final quarter, and it was the youngster himself who won Chelsea a penalty-kick moments after arriving on the pitch. Fiabema coolly dispatched the kick from 12 yards for his fourth goal in as many games but it was too late in the game to spark a comeback. It ended 3-1 to Liverpool in just our second PL2 defeat for the development squad.
Our next game in PL2 is on Sunday 8 November and we are back on Merseyside to take on Everton. Kick-off is 1pm.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Lucas Bergstrom; Henry Lawrence, Dynel Simeu (c), Jack Wakely, Baba (George Nunn 70); Thierno Ballo, Danny Drinkwater; Dion Rankine, Tino Anjorin (Ben Elliott 78), Marcel Lewis; Bryan Fiabema
Unused subs Jake Askew, Bashir Humphreys, Pierre Ekwah-Elimby
Booked Simeu 16;
Scorer Fiabema 81 (pen)
Liverpool Vitezslav Jaros, Abdulrahman Sharif, Remi Savage, Rhys Williams (Matteo Ritaccio 63), Sepp Van Den Berg, Tom Clayton, Jack Bearne (Yasser Larouci 78), Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Luis Longstaff, Jake Cain, Liam Millar
Unused subs Fidel O’Rourke, Joe Hardy, Ben Winterbottom,
Booked Savage 50
Scorer Williams 14; Cain 17; Millar 21 (pen);