Liverpool ended Fulham under 21s unbeaten run as they inflicted a second defeat of the season upon Steve Wigley’s side this afternoon. The hosts ran out convincing 3-1 winners in what was one of the most watchable PL2 games of the season, with strikes from Melkamu Frauendorf, Jarell Quansah and Layton Stewart securing the three points despite an improved second half showing that had threatened to see the Cottagers mount a fightback when Olly Sanderson halved the arrears.

Wigley made only one alteration to the team that had beaten Blackburn last time out with Luke Harris, fresh from playing the last few minutes with the senior side at Manchester City yesterday, replacing Sylvester Jasper. Liverpool quickly put the young Whites under pressure with their crisp passing and the Reds hit the front inside five minutes. German youth international Frauendorf darted in right the right flank and drilled a low finish beyond George Wickens.

The Fulham goalkeeper then made a superb reaction stop, dashing off his line to deny James McConnell a second, with full back Luciano D’Auria-Henry throwing himself in front of the winger’s follow-up to prevent the hosts from going 2-0 up. Fulham’s first opportunity arrived courtesy of a fine Harris through ball that put Ollie O’Neill in the clear but the Irish under-21 international was swiftly surrounded by red shirts.

The home side’s pressure was relentless. Bobby Clark drove into the side netting and Wickens was grateful that a strike from Luke Chambers was hit right at him, but it came as little surprise when Liverpool increased their advantage midway through the first period. Nat Phillips outjumped Connor McAvoy and centre half Quansah was on hand to grab his second goal of the season. Wickens then did brilliantly to keep out Ben Doak’s close-range finish with his feet – and Fulham would have felt fortunate to go in at half time only two down.

Wigley sent on Martial Godo for Kristian Ĺ ekularac at the start of the second half and Fulham were much more fluent after the interval. Matt Dibley-Dias’ rising drive didn’t clear the crossbar by much and the Londoners got themselves back into the contest seven minutes after the break. D’Auria-Henry drove down the right and delivered a peach of a cross for Sanderson, whose rose majestically to head home his second league goal of the season.

After Quansah had seen a header deflected onto the woodwork with Wickens well beaten, Fulham should have scored an equaliser. Harris somehow failed to find the target with a free header from O’Neill’s corner and the Whites were made to pay at the other end. Barry Lewtas’ side restored their two-goal cushion with twenty minutes remaining as two substitutes linked up when James Norris’ ball across goal was fired through a disappointed Wickens by Stewart. Liverpool leapfrogged the young Whites with a deserved victory and Wigley’s side will look to put this defeat behind them when take on Nottingham Forest in the Premier League Cup on Friday night.

LIVERPOOL UNDER 21s (4-3-3): Mrozek; Jones, Chambers, Phillips (McLaughlin-Miles 45), Quansah; Stephenson, Clark (Norris 45), Cain; Doak (Hill 76), McConnell (Stewart 62), Frauendorf (Musialowski 80).


GOALS: Frauendorf (5), Quansah (22), Stewart (70).

FULHAM UNDER 21s (4-2-3-1): Wickens; D’Auria-Henry, Bowat, C. Robinson, McAvoy; Pajaziti (Williams 61), Dibley-Dias; S?ekularac (Godo 45), O’Neill, Harris; Sanderson. Subs (not used): Allen, Parkes, Okkas.

BOOKED: McAvoy, Harris.

GOAL: Sanderson (52).

REFEREE: Michael Barlow.