Young Everton U23s given a harsh lesson by rivals Liverpool

Monday, 23 August, 2021 38comments  |  Jump to last
Everton U23 1- 3 Liverpool U23

Everton were under the cosh from their older rivals from the off and did remarkably well to get to 40 minutes before they conceded to the inevitable red onslaught.

Liverpool went further ahead after the break but substitutes Dobbin and Garcia hit back to get on the scoresheet. But Liverpool went further ahead before another Everton substitute, Liam Higgins, hit the bar and then missed an absolute sitter from 4 yards.

Everton U23s: Leban, John, Anderson (78' Higgins), Astley, Welch, Butterfield, Mills [Y:65'], Whitaker [Y:29'], Cannon (58' Garcia), Price [Y:31'], McAllister (58' Dobbin).
Subs not Used: Barrett, Hughes.


Reader Comments (38)

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Phill Thompson
1 Posted 22/08/2021 at 18:30:37
Michael, I can’t see any reference to a live stream for Members, just free admission to the actual game?
Phill Thompson
2 Posted 23/08/2021 at 16:10:29
This is the only thing I can find.
“ Our live audio coverage is available for all fans who have signed up for a FREE digital membership. Become a digital member now by clicking here.”
Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 23/08/2021 at 18:46:59
Yea, I must have mis-read it. Audio only, it seems. Sorry, folks.
Robert Tressell
4 Posted 23/08/2021 at 18:52:56
I've found something on youtube which says coverage starts in about 10 mins. We'll see.
Michael Kenrick
5 Posted 23/08/2021 at 18:55:25
I was led astray by this:


Michael Kenrick
6 Posted 23/08/2021 at 18:57:53
Turns out there's a new rule related to broadcasting: any team for U23s game, when a Prem ier League game is on (as there is tonight), it can't be shown due to the new tv deal. No team are allowed to show U23s games unless all teams strike a deal to get that part of TV deal sorted.
Michael Kenrick
7 Posted 23/08/2021 at 19:00:32
This is the listening link:


Only it just takes me in an endless loop of repeated logins to nowhere.

Robert Tressell
8 Posted 23/08/2021 at 19:04:20
The youtube thing came to nothing. Shame. Quite a promising team. Don't know much about the RS other Ojo (who seems to be one of these perennial youngsters) and Gordon, the very talented player they took from Derby.
Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 23/08/2021 at 19:04:51
But if you go to Match Centre and click on Media, you get this page:

Live Audio Commentary

You need to click on the graphic to get the black audio player, then make sure you unmute the audio... what a friggin palaver!

Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 23/08/2021 at 19:08:44
7:07 and sounds like the teams are finally coming out, seirn and Z-Cars to boot,

Kick-off delayed due to a 'healthy' crowd... (No Covid!)

Jay Harris
11 Posted 23/08/2021 at 19:46:33
Not a great start.

The other shower dominating the game unfortunately.

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 23/08/2021 at 19:59:29
Cracking crowd here tonight. I kid you not, stood next to four Norwegians.
Phill Thompson
13 Posted 23/08/2021 at 20:20:28
Looking forward to more of your exclusive interviews Brent, and of course a match report after!
Brent Stephens
14 Posted 23/08/2021 at 20:26:50
Phill, I spoke to Rhino before kkick off. He ignored me!
Phill Thompson
15 Posted 23/08/2021 at 20:30:16
I’m not surprised Brent, “ Rhino” indeed, he likes to be known as “ Unsy” or “Gaffer” these days 😉

0-2 down now.

Change that, 1-2, Garcia scores for us.

Brent Stephens
16 Posted 23/08/2021 at 20:32:25
Lovely ball Dobbins to Garcia for our goal.
Len Hawkins
17 Posted 23/08/2021 at 21:11:21
They'll be the Norwegians from the Southport branch of the Norwegian Christmas tree dancers they go into a sauna then they come out naked dance round in a circle smacking each others arse with a Christmas tree.
Brent Stephens
18 Posted 23/08/2021 at 21:42:29
Well, a bit disappointing from our lads. I don't know the relative age profiles, so I can't make any excuses (yet)!

To be fair the other side had so many chances. Laban gifted them a goal but very poor finishing at times by the other side.

Overall it wasn't a game I could get excited about - quite flat much of the time. That Dobbin / Garcia combo goal was the highlight for me.

Don Alexander
19 Posted 23/08/2021 at 21:48:20
Len, do you have their address please?
Barry Hesketh
20 Posted 23/08/2021 at 21:58:00
Don @19
I'm pretty sure that Len will confirm that they are the Male branch based in Southport, but in these modern times, it would be inappropriate of me to make any ill-conceived judgments.
Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 23/08/2021 at 23:44:16
Len, I used to live in a Norwegian town in Minnesota, and they did the same thing there.

At the City Council meetings.

Nicholas Ryan
22 Posted 23/08/2021 at 23:56:10
Brent: "stood next to four Norwegians ", ... so is everyone else on the Kop!
James Flynn
23 Posted 24/08/2021 at 01:53:25
Match goers/viewers. How did Dobbins look overall?
Don Alexander
24 Posted 24/08/2021 at 03:21:02
James (#23), due respect but we're now currently discussing public ass-whipping with a (dubious provenance admittedly) fir tree.

Anyone bristling at that needs education as far as I and the massively minority WOKE folk are concerned.

Michael Kenrick
25 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:07:57
So this is Unsworth's take on the home side's capitulation:

"It was the second game of the season, just too much, too soon to ask our young team to compete with that Liverpool side...

"They had a little bit of experience at the back, which makes a massive difference, they had the flair and experience upfront and the quality. With our young team, it was just too much for us at this level.

"That level of strength Liverpool showed tonight in what they put out. It was as good as you are going to see at this level."

Oh dear me... what happened to the PL2-winning manager, driving all before him? Is that the excuse now with the new Academy paradigm: "too young and inexperienced"???

And how excatly are such dismal performances and results going to make these players into world-beaters in the top flight?

Phill Thompson
26 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:11:07
Michael, all the fan reports I've read said we were poor, but do you really expect Unsworth to castigate his side in public? He's acknowledged that Liverpool were the better team and they were too much for his young side, last season the likes of Broadhead, Bowler, Simms and Ouzounidis were often standout players because of their age and experience, yes it really makes a difference at this level.

This is where Unsworth, Ebbrell etc earn their money, moulding these youngsters into a team that can compete with better, more experienced teams throughout the season.

I'm more amused than anything about all comments on Unsworth today. On social media/ fans forums, 50% think it's Unsworth‘s fault Small left, 49% think it's the Academy's fault for not providing a ”pathway”, 1% admit to never seeing Small or not caring. We'd be lost without Unsworth to blame for all our problems.

Don Alexander
27 Posted 25/08/2021 at 01:06:22
Unsworth teams have almost always failed to beat Liverpool, mirroring the first team. Jeez, in the very recent past, Klopp watched his sprogs comprehensively stuff our first team.

The one reason Unsworth's employed by Kenwright is that, like other ex-player "coaches", he's a consummate "Yesman" to the (when strategically required) Teary One but incapable of producing players fit for first-team football or notably fee-inducing transfers.

Finch Farm has been a swamp of tolerated mediocrity for decades but, even worse from those of us who profess to be in the know (according to previous posts), Moshiri is a guy who revels in adoration and no challenge. In that, he exactly mirrors the useless ponce of a chairman he still employs.

Terry White
28 Posted 25/08/2021 at 03:02:51
Well, Mr Alexander (#27), I liked you so much better when you stayed away from your favourite subject, castigating our Chairman. I suppose you just don't have it in you.
Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 26/08/2021 at 21:37:04
If Liverpool were a lot more experienced, why should Unsworth castigate his players anyway?

Andy Crooks
30 Posted 26/08/2021 at 22:01:31

You must take it easy. Patrolling the site for negativity is Forth Bridge-like in its utterly thankless taskedness.

Don is going to do this sort of stuff and, in my view, the fact that he likes to keep this hobby horse fit and well, is no bad thing. I very much respect your resolute support for every aspect of our club and there are plenty of other admirable Blues on here who do likewise.

I have little time for Bill Kenwright but I know there is always another side... I would genuinely like to hear your views on the subject.

Dale Self
31 Posted 26/08/2021 at 22:21:16
Not so fast there, thanks, Terry.
Michael Kenrick
32 Posted 27/08/2021 at 11:01:58
Sorry, but I wasn't asking for Unsworth to castigate his players – far from it – not sure where you would get that idea from.

No, my issue is with the critics of Unsworth, of his fellow Old Boy coaches, of the Everton Academy, and so on – claiming that players were kept too long and that their lingering presence blocked the upward progress of younger players.

Against my point that it is important throughout the development stages that strong teams be maintained so that they are competitive within the Academy League and Cup competition environments.

What this game demonstrates is exactly that surrender of team building, cohesion and experience in favour of promoting youngsters who are obviously not ready yet to compete at U23 level.

It should be about striking the right balance. I was never convinced the balance had gone too far in favour of older players, supposedly so Unsworth could fill his trophy cabinet (what a ridiculous accusation), as so many critics had claimed. But now it's clear the new policy has shifted the balance too far in the other direction.

I'm concerned that these young players themselves will now suffer because they will be far less successful as a team. And you know what? At the end of the day, it is a team game.

Colin Glassar
33 Posted 27/08/2021 at 11:21:15
How many years has Unsy worked with these lads and how many have actually made it as first-team regulars? This is the yardstick that he must be measured by.

It's my opinion that he's not fit for purpose. He's an Everton legend and a really good guy (he's a close friend of my niece) but he's not an elite coach, tactician or particularly good scout.

So, to paraphrase Leo Amery, “You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of god, go!”

Sam Hoare
34 Posted 27/08/2021 at 11:21:20
It’s not a team game. Not at academy level.

Far better to have two very talented individuals in a poor team than 11 mediocre players who play well together.

Academy goals are (or surely should be) about producing players who can play for the first team and/or be sold for good profit. Ergo playing older, average players who may block younger talents development can be detrimental.

Perhaps it’s helpful for developing players to play in a winning team or perhaps they build more resilience by experiencing obstacles and disappointments; that’s one for the sport psychologists, but no academy team is likely to continue playing with each other in large numbers at higher level so development of the individual is paramount.

Robert Tressell
35 Posted 27/08/2021 at 11:35:43

Players who do well in the Premier League generally debut in the first team around 18 or 19 (or spend a season or two out on loan from that age before establishing themselves). That means they often largely bypass the U23s. Take Jeffers, Ball, Dunne, Rooney, Rodwell, Barkley and Davies etc as examples.

Unsworth oversees the very end of a conveyor belt and cannot turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

We should be looking to the U18s and younger age groups as to why they aren't churning out the talent.

Colin Glassar
36 Posted 27/08/2021 at 11:45:12
You might have a point there, Robert. You can’t make decent sausages if your little piggies are shite.
Michael Kenrick
37 Posted 27/08/2021 at 21:51:08

"It’s not a team game. Not at academy level."

I'm struggling to process that one, Sam. It seems to go against everything I thought I understood about football – and especially it being a team game at all levels.

Yes, you want better players, the best even. But the ability to play effectively as part of a team has to be developed along with individual skills. And a team of 11 plus 3 out of 5 subs means that you have plenty of scope to retain some more experienced players that provide the team context and structure for the younger stars coming through. Surely what you want to achieve is a balance between maintaining those elements while making sure there is recognition and acceleration of highly skilled youngsters coming through, to make sure their progress is not blocked.

To say "It’s not a team game. Not at academy level"... I would just be amazed if any academy coach would buy off on that. It's not about continuing to play with each other at higher levels. It's about providing a good team structure at the current level (U23, U18) that brings the best out of the talented starlets, so they can excel. It just seems obvious that playing in a winning team has to be better for all concerned than trying to excel in a losing team.

But you say it's not a team game...

You astound me.

Barry Hesketh
38 Posted 27/08/2021 at 22:05:37
Perhaps, Everton and the coaches at Finch Farm have been asked to take a longer view of how players are developed.

If there is one thing that is obvious from the last decade or so, it's that not enough players have managed to make an impact at the first-team level. That may be due to a variety of factors, but in the main, it's because the youngsters haven't quite been good enough to establish themselves at Everton.

In some cases the younger players we have purchased have sought first-team football elsewhere as they became impatient, waiting for an opportunity to progress.

Perhaps, If Unsworth takes the pain of losing more often than he'd like this season, the experience that the younger players gain from playing more regularly at the U23 level will stand them in better stead for next season.

What we mustn't see happening in the future, is the Garbutt syndrome where a player is stuck in no man's land and constantly looking for clubs to take them on loan whilst being a professional at Everton for so long as to almost earn a testimonial.

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