Forgotten man gives Jurgen Klopp a reminder in Liverpool under-23s mini-derby win over Everton under-23s

The Reds were deserved winners in the Premier League 2 encounter at Southport’s Haig Avenue.

<p>Sheyi Ojo. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images</p>

Sheyi Ojo. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Forgotten man Sheyi Ojo gave Jurgen Klopp a reminder of his talent after scoring in Liverpool under-23s’ 3-1 defeat of Everton under-23s in the mini Merseyside derby.

The winger - who hasn’t played for the Reds since January 2017 and spent the past four seasons out on loan - broke the deadlock before the highly-rated Kaide Gordon and Max Woltman bagged in the Premier League 2 victory.

Rafael Garcia briefly reduced the deficit for the Blues but the away side were deserved winners in front of 1,807 spectators at Southport’s Haig Avenue.

Contrasting teams

Liverpool named a strong starting XI, with plenty of recognisable names on show.

Among the line-up was Ojo, who scored five goals in 42 games on loan at Championship outfit Cardiff last campaign.

In addition, Rhys Williams - who played nine times in the Premier League in 2020-21 - and £3 million signing Kaide Gordon also featured from the outset.

Rhys Williams started for Liverpool under-23s against Everton under-23s. Picture: Phil Noble - Pool/Getty Images

Everton, meanwhile, were a lot less experienced with no players aged above 20 starting.

Lewis Dobbin, who scored three hat-tricks in pre-season, was left on the bench.

Away side boss first half

The Reds dominated the first half and persistently backed Everton into a corner.

In the eighth minute, Woltman profited from a Toffees mistake but saw his effort cleared off the line by Joe Anderson.

Liverpool continued to dominate, with Owen Beck a constant threat down the left-hand side.

On 26 minutes, Jake Cain’s cross was met by Williams but he narrowly headed wide.

Ten minutes later, Gordon caused the Everton rearguard all sorts of problems when he cut inside from the right wing and his teasing left-footed effort curled just the wrong side of the far post.

The Reds would finally make a deserved breakthrough on 39 minutes when Tom Clayton crossed for Ojo, who finished neatly under Everton keeper Zan Luk Leban.

Scintillating second period

The Toffees must have thought they were in for a long evening after coming out for the second half.

Tyler Morton fired a warning shot for Liverpool when his effort flashed not far wide of the post.

But the Reds would double their advantage through Gordon, who arrived from Derby County in January, when he snuck his shot under Leban.

Everton desperately needed inspiration and David Unsworth made a double substitution to introduce Dobbin and Garcia.

They produced the sort of ingenuity required to get the Blues back into the game, with Dobbin picking out Garcia to tuck home with composure.

Rafael Garcia was on target for Everton. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

That sparked the encounter into life, although it was Liverpool who’d get back on top.

After missing a chance moments earlier, Woltman’s blushes were spared when he restored the two-goal advantage for Barry Lewtas’ outfit. Conor Bradley crossed from the right and Woltman was there to apply the finish.

To their credit, Everton took a gung-ho approach to get something from the game.

Substitute Liam Higgins crashed a 25-yard effort against the crossbar before he somehow missed from close range following excellent work from Dobbin down the right.

But the best team won on the night, with Liverpool taking the Merseyside bragging rights at under-23 level.

What’s next

Everton’s Premier League 2 campaign continues with a trip to Crystal Palace on Friday.

Meanwhile, Liverpool play host to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.