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Liverpool’s forgotten transfer makes case to Jurgen Klopp as Reds fightback comes too late

Calvin Ramsay came off the bench to score for Liverpool Under-23s as they went down 3-2 at Accrington Stanley in the Papa John’s Trophy.


Summer signing Calvin Ramsay marked his first appearance for Liverpool with a goal as the Reds’ Under-21s fell to a 3-2 defeat away at Accrington Stanley in their final group game in this year’s Papa John’s Trophy.


Already eliminated from the competition, Barry Lewtas’ side more than held their own against the League One opposition and were unfortunate to trail to a controversial Tommy Leigh goal. Yet they came unstuck against an increasingly physical opponent after the break as Leigh scored his second before Ryan Astley headed home a corner to give the hosts seemingly a flattering win.


However, substitutes Ramsay and Ben Doak both scored late on to ensure a nervy finish at the Wham Stadium as the young Reds fell to a narrow defeat.


Liverpool thought they’d taken an early lead when Melkamu Frauendorf converted Luke Chambers’ cross at the far post following a brilliant individual run from Mateusz Musialowski. However, the young Reds found themselves denied by the linesman’s flag.


They were on the opposing side of such a call moments later as they fell behind after Stefan Bajcetic was bundled off the ball in midfield. Accrington burst forward on the counter with Shaun Walley cutting inside and crossing to the far post, with Leigh on hand to convert as Liverpool arms appealing for offside were left ignored.


Having also been on the wrong side of a controversial offside call in their last Papa John’s outing – a 1-0 defeat to Rochdale – it was a bitter pill to swallow once again with no VAR to call upon to check either decision.


The young Reds responded well at least, with Lukas Jensen called into action to tip behind a deflected Dominic Corness strike before Musialowski bent a free-kick over the bar, with Accrington struggling to keep the tricky young Pole or Frauendorf quiet on either flank.


Yet Harvey Davies had to be alert to deny Alhagi Touray Sisay, racing off his line and standing tall to stop the forward doubling the host’s lead when one-on-one. Meanwhile, the striker was denied again soon after as Luke Chambers cleared his scuffed close-range effort off the line.


At the other end, Jensen was off his line quickly to deny Layton Stewart an equaliser as the striker looked to round him following a defensive error, getting a strong hand to the ball. Yet he was left scrambling soon after as Corness bent a long-range effort narrowly wide of the far post.


Frauendorf was then unfortunate not to equalise when rising highest to connect with a corner at the far post, only to head straight at the Accrington goalkeeper, before fellow winger Musialowski saw his own effort blocked after cutting in from the left.


Liverpool were unlucky to go in behind at the break, but saw their good work undone with moments of the restart as former Red Liam Coyle left Bajcetic in a heap in the middle of the park after stealing possession, before playing in Leigh who beat Davies with a thunderous effort when one-on-one for his second of the game.


Ramsay came on for his first Liverpool appearance shortly after the hour-mark, but it was Accrington substitute Nathan Delfouneso who nearly made an immediate impact as the striker missed two glorious chances to extend Stanley’s lead.


The veteran first blazed over the crossbar from close-range, before being denied by a superb fingertip save from Davies after shrugging off Lee Jonas to find himself one-on-one.


Yet Accrington would grab their third from the resulting corner as Astley found space at the far post to head home to seemingly wrap up the win.


Liverpool pushed for a consolation as Bajcetic was denied by Jensen from distance before side-footing narrowly wide from a Doak cutback, while Astley had an effort disallowed for offside at the other end.


Yet the young Reds had more luck from Doak’s next cross as it was only half-cleared, gifting Ramsay the opportunity to mark his debut with a thunderous first-time effort in stoppage-time.


Doak then set up an even nervier finish when scrambling home a Corness corner in the dying embers of the match. And while Liverpool ultimately fell to defeat once again in the Papa John’s Trophy, they at least ensured the final scoreline carried some deserved respectability thanks to their late charge.


Liverpool Starting XI: Davies; Stephenson (Ramsay, 63), Quansah, Jonas, Chambers; Cain, Bajcetic, Corness; Musialowski (Doak, 69), Stewart, Frauendorf (McConnell, 82).

Unused Subs: Kelly, Miles, Koumas, Spearing.

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