Premier League 2
Liverpool 3 Arsenal 2 (Mavididi)
Stephy Mavididi’s brace wasn’t sufficient to prevent Arsenal U23s from falling to a 3-2 defeat to their Liverpool counterparts at Anfield.
The young Gunners have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes of late but they were beaten by a strong Liverpool side that punished their defensive deficiencies.
Coach Steve Gatting surprisingly elected to name Gedion Zelalem on the bench as Ismael Bennacer partnered Ainsley Maitland-Niles in midfield, while Jeff Reine-Adelaide received a run-out.
Nelson-Reine Adelaide-C. Willock
Subs: Nketiah (for Bennacer, 63). Not used: Keto, DaSilva, Dragomir, Zelalem.
The game started in frenetic fashion, with Liverpool, who prevailed when these sides met at Emirates Stadium earlier in the campaign, taking the lead in the second minute when Harry Wilson found the net.
Arsenal were back level just three minutes later, however, as the increasingly prolific Mavididi finished well following impressive work in the build-up from Reine-Adelaide, who provided a reminder of his quality.
Soon, though, Liverpool were 2-1 up, with Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Macey clumsily conceding a penalty and subsequently being unable to keep out Wilson’s spot-kick.
Sheyi Ojo then put Liverpool 3-1 ahead after capitalising upon some disappointing defending.
Arsenal tried their utmost to claw their way back into the game in the second half but a Liverpool defence containing Mamadou Sakho initially proved difficult to break down.
The young Gunners eventually managed to get their second goal and Mavididi was on the scoresheet once again with another composed finish.
The onus was then on Arsenal to snatch an equaliser and they came close to doing just that but substitute Edward Nketiah saw his effort saved well by Liverpool goalkeeper Shamal George, meaning Gatting’s side were beaten in their final game of the calendar year.