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The Academy: United v Liverpool – Preview

United’s U18s are in action again tomorrow as they take on Liverpool in the Premier Academy League.

It’s been six weeks since the reverse fixture saw Adam Morgan and Matty Regan grab the goals in a 2-1 win for Liverpool. Ex-Liverpool academy goalkeeper Liam Jacob made a howler that gifted Regan a simple header that ultimately sealed United’s fate that day. He and the lads were unlucky not to get anything out of that game but United have since gone unbeaten and will hope to avenge that defeat.

Before an impressive 3-1 victory away from home against Manchester City last weekend, Liverpool’s form has been erratic this season. This is perfectly illustrated by their sequence of results since our two teams met back in October. They required a last minute winner away to West Brom, they drew with lowly Crewe (away) before losing 2-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers.

United have seen off the latter three of those teams since the defeat to Liverpool and will come into this came with more belief but they need to pay special attention to Josh Sumner who tormented United last time and was unlucky not to add to the scoreline. Adam Morgan hasn’t appeared in Liverpool’s last four games so I’m not sure if he’s injured or available. If he is available he’ll be a danger throughout and special attention will need to be paid to his movement.

Injuries still rule Tom Lawrence and Joe Rothwell out of the game but I imagine the manager will field his strongest available team in an effort to maintain the momentum that’s built up during their five match winning streak.

What’s important tomorrow?

A cleansheet. United have only kept one solitary cleansheet this season. That came when they beat Sheffield United back in early September. The team’s performances have improved week-on-week this season and we’ve seen some tremendous individual progression, but the most glaring issue is the 24 goals conceded in just 12 games. It would be a huge boost to confidence if the lads could add a second cleansheet tomorrow.

Possible Team: Jacob / Blackett, Dalley, McCullough, Love, Weir, Rudge, Januza, Daehli, GvV, Barmby
Subs: Coll, Hendrie, Pearson, Byrne, Ekangamene.

The match is live on MUTV with coverage starting at 1:15pm. Regular updates from me start around from 12:30pm.