Liverpool Under-18s 3 (Sinclair 19, Sanders og 27, Brewitt 75)
Stoke City Under-18s 1 (Sanders 58)
Stoke City's Under-18s were unable to continue their fine run of form against Liverpool on Saturday morning when they fell to a 3-1 defeat.
John Perkins' side had beaten the Merseyside club home and away last season and were guilty of not converting their chances, with Ed Sanders’ second half goal proving to be of little significance.
City had Daniel Gyollai to thank for ensuring the margin of defeat was no greater after a string of fine stops, including a late penalty save.
The hosts made the brighter start and almost made the breakthrough after five minutes. Daniel Trickett-Smith found space just outside the box and played in Sheyi Ojo, but the winger saw his shot tipped round the post by Gyollai.
City responded through Ryan Shields, but after Ryan Crump allowed Kelvin Douglas’ cross to slip through his gloves, the keeper managed to scramble across his line to deny the former Manchester United youngster from point blank range.
Stoke continued on the front foot and twice went close through Charles Weston-Hayles. First the striker fired just wide of the far post after winning possession deep inside the opposition half before shooting over from 16 yards when clean through.
It was Liverpool who were to open the scoring on 19 minutes, though. Adam Phillips raced down the right and his cross into the box was controlled by Jerome Sinclair who lashed his shot past Gyollai.
The home side thought they had made it two with their next attack but Trickett-Smith was adjudged to have been in an offside position after firing in Philips’ cross.
Liverpool did however extend their advantage on 27 minutes when the ball was played out to Ojo whose flick to the far post was poked over the line by the unfortunate Sanders.
City were always threatening on the break and had two good chances to pull a goal back through Shields. The winger forced Crump into a routine save from 30 yards before seeing a golden opportunity snatched away by a last ditch challenge after being set free down the left.
Liverpool had the last action of the half but were denied from making it three when Gyollai, who was making his first start for the Under-18s, superbly pushed Pedro Chirivella's low drive away to safety.
Stoke were quickest out of the blocks after the interval and went close through Weston-Hayles, but the first-year scholar’s lob went narrowly wide of the upright.
The visitors didn't have to wait much longer to half the deficit. Sanders rose highest inside the box to head home substitute Joel Taylor’s right wing corner on 58 minutes.
The Potters were unable to build on their goal and Liverpool went close through Philips’ 25-yard effort before they scored a third with 15 minutes remaining. Ryan Kent’s corner was powerfully headed in by an unmarked Tom Brewitt inside the six-yard box.
Liverpool could have extended their lead just before the full time whistle when Sanders was adjudged to have pulled back Sinclair inside the box, but the striker’s penalty was saved by Gyollai.
Liverpool: Crump, Randall (c), Maguire, Cleary, Brewitt, Chirivella, Wilson (Kent 66), Philips (Burke 84), Sinclair, Trickett-Smith (Canos 66), Ojo. Subs not used: Jackson, D. Roberts.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Banks, Pickerill (Taylor 46), Monlouis, Sanders, Edwards, Cook (Coban 74), Douglas (O Roberts 64), Weston-Hayles, Pringle, Shields. Subs not used: Kurasik, Vassell.