Manchester United scored in each half to defeat Liverpool 2-1 at Leigh Sports Village with a strong U21s squad.
Nick Powell opened the scoring with a header from Andreas Pereira‘s free-kick. Jerome Sinclair equalised to make it level before the break before Paddy McNair secured the victory earlier in the second half.
The first half was a tight affair with very few chances being created at either end. Blackett suffered a severe lack of concentration when he passed to a Liverpool player following a ball from Valdes. Fortunately, Liverpool didn’t punish that lapse.
Powell had a great chance after being picked out by Anderson but despite being through on the goalkeeper his shot went wide of the goalpost. He made up for his lack of accuracy later. Pereira floated a lovely free-kick into the Liverpool area and Powell rose highest to head home.
Powell followed up with a shot from range but it sailed over the crossbar. United invited pressure on when Reece James misplaced his pass and Blackett’s marking was found wanting. Sinclair took on a shot and Valdes was beaten at his near post as Liverpool equalised.
The second half started brightly. McNair who struggled in the first half in the unfamiliar right-back role put United back in the lead. Powell did well to find Saidy Janko inside the box. Janko twisted and turned and saw his pass deflected into the path of the onrushing McNair whose effort found the bottom left corner.
Thorpe played excellently on his return from injury and was on hand on many occasions, particularly in the second half, to make an interception. James saw an effort go wide as he slipped at the crucial moment. Anderson and Powell had shots from range, the former on target and the latter always rising.
That win sees United go fourth in the Barclays U21 Premier League table level on points with third placed Chelsea. The Reds are just three points off top of the table Southampton with a match in hand.
Manchester United: Valdes, McNair, Thorpe (c), Blackett, Vermijl, Janko, Anderson (Grimshaw 89′), A. Pereira (Weir 87′), R. James, Lingard, Powell.
Unused Substitutes: J. Pereira, Love, A. Fletcher.
Goals: Powell, McNair.
Man of the Match: Tom Thorpe.