By Paddy Boyland
Everton Under-23s fell to a disappointing mini-derby defeat on a night when they lifted the Premier League 2 title.
After a promising start, Matty Pennington’s error gifted Sheyi Ojo an opener, with Trent Alexander-Arnold doubling Liverpool’s lead around the hour mark.
Substitute Calum Dyson pulled a goal back for David Unsworth’s men, but the visitors held on to win in front of a packed Goodison Park.
Here’s how the young Blues rated at the Old Lady.
Solid under the high ball and could do little about either goal. May get a chance to make an impression on Koeman during pre-season as both Robles and Stekelenburg flatter to deceive.
The standout in blue on an evening when several dipped below their usual levels. Strong defensively and a constant outlet down the right-wing. Provided further evidence that he’s close to making the grade with a string of dangerous crosses, too.
Commanding enough in the air but will have to improve his distribution if he’s to feature for the senior side. Remains a highly-rated member of Unsworth’s squad, however.
Guilty of over-playing for Liverpool’s opener and was caught for pace at times.
Returned from his loan at Barnsley to play out of position on the left of the defence. Didn’t ever seem completely comfortable with using his left-foot, and thus slowed down several promising attacks.
A mixed bag before he was subbed just before the hour mark. Still appears some way short of being ready for first-team action.
Once again looked a class act in the defensive midfield role. Energetic throughout but also contributed some smart passes- one lovely slide-rule ball put Sambou clear in the second period- and neat touches to link with his teammates. A real prospect at just 18.
Enjoyed a strong end to the first-half before fading after the break. The England youth international was deployed in a more advanced role tonight and struggled to make an impact in the offensive third, save for one run to set up Dyson. Arguably better suited to playing further back.
As always, a willing runner from his position on the left of midfield. Didn’t quite manage to get into goalscoring areas in quite the same way as usual, and was tellingly subbed as Unsworth sought a way back into the match.
Drifted in and out. Has superb ability on the ball but is unlikely to the make the step up unless he starts to take games by the scruff of the neck.
Handed a difficult task against the impressive Gomez but gave a good account of himself on the whole. Pacey, powerful and tested Grabara on a couple of occasions despite a general lack of support. Another who seems destined for bigger and better things.
Brought on in an attempt to stretch play and did, admittedly, get in behind on a number of occasions. Final product was pretty erratic, though, with one wayward cross wasting a great opportunity for the Blues. Could be set for the exit door this summer after failing to make his mark.
Back from a loan at Grimsby where he was crowned Young Player of the Season, and fired home a deflected goal to reduce the deficit.