Rhian Brewster scored his second goal in two games but Liverpool U18s suffered their second defeat in three Premier League games with a 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon.
James Cook headed the hosts in front on the half-hour mark before Mitchell Curry doubled Boro’s side in the 60th minute.
Brewster, who scored in the 3-1 win against Stoke last week, pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute but the Reds couldn’t find an equaliser as the game ended 2-1.
Neil Critchley made three changes from the win at the Kirkby Academy last week with Kamil Grabara, Liam Millar and Rafael Camacho making way for Caoimhin Kelleher, Yan Dhanda and Okera Simmonds.
Middlesbrough started the brighter of the two sides with Curry testing Kelleher, who was making his first appearance for the U18s this season after playing eight times for the U23s.
The hosts’ pressure eventually told in the 30th minute when a Ben Liddle free-kick wasn’t dealt with and Cook rose above his marker to put his side ahead.
The Reds came inches away from grabbing an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, but Yan Dhanda, deputising for Rafael Camacho who is on international duty, smashed the post with a free-kick.
Liverpool started the second half as they ended the first, with Brewster firing over the crossbar whilst under pressure from goalscorer Cook.
However, they didn’t make their pressure count, and the visitors fell further behind on the hour mark after poor defending.
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Zac Hemming’s clearance was not defended at all and Curry latched onto a loose before to round Kelleher and pass it into an empty net.
Critchley’s chargers did find a way bac into the game when Brewster fired his long-range effort past Hemming to set up a final 17 minutes in the North East.
Okera Simmonds was making his full debut for the U18s, and the forward was replaced by Kris Owens midway through the second half.
It was Owens, who was making his first appearance of the season, who went closes to grabbing an eqauliser, but he headed Adam Lewis’ cross just wide.
Kelleher then produced a fine save to deny Curry and keep the game alive, but Dhanda fired a free-kick wide in the closing stages as Liverpool could not find an equaliser.
The defeat sees Liverpool stay in fifth in the U18 Premier League and will look to close the gap on the league leaders Newcastle when they hosts 11th placed Everton in the mini-derby next Saturday.
Liverpool U18s: Kelleher; Lewis, Parker, Masterson, Johnston; Coyle, Hunter; Dhanda, Simmonds (Owens 65’), Brewster; McAuley.
Middlesbrough U18s: Hemming; Hegarty, Reading, Liddle, Cook; Renton, Wilson (Holdsworth), Tavernier, Curry; O’Neill (Malley), Lambert.
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