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Kick off 14:00 (UK)

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08 February 2019 Venue Sir Tom Finney Stadium Attendance

Kick off 14:00 (UK)

Burnley U23
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Liverpool PL2

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PREVIEW: Burnley U23s v Liverpool U23s

Clarets aim to feel at home at the 'Bridge' to enhance cup hopes

8 February 2019

The Clarets face Liverpool at Bamber Bridge this afternoon (Friday) looking for a positive result to aid their hopes of progressing in the U23 Premier League Cup.

After launching their Group C campaign with a 7-1 defeat at Bournemouth, Burnley have bounced back with a three-match unbeaten run.

That includes a 1-1 draw at Liverpool in November and if Steve Stone’s side can again take something from the Reds they will go into their final group game with a chance of going through to the last 16.

“When I got here, we had the conversation where we said ‘it’s probably over, this, and we’ll not be able to do anything in it,” said Stone, who took charge of the U23s following the first game at Liverpool.

“But they have done well in the last couple of games and pulled themselves into a position where it’s up to the boys now.

“It’s up them. If they win the last two games they go through.

“We know that’s going to be difficult. But to go far in any cup competition or a group stage, you have to play good teams and you have to be tested against top opposition.

“That’s what we’re doing and that’s what we want. This is like a one-off cup game where you have to be up for it.

“It’s something different and I’m really looking forward to the game. However it goes, I’ll learn a lot about my team and individual players.”  

Defeat at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium would not mathematically end the Clarets’ hopes of reaching the knock-out stages.

But it would make it a long shot with a final group game to come against West Bromwich Albion – who play leaders Bournemouth next Monday night – at Curzon Ashton on Monday, 25 February.

The Clarets beat Bournemouth 4-2 in their last group game

Meanwhile, a win over a Liverpool side which plays in the top flight of Premier League Two would temporarily take the Clarets top of the group.

And while Stone is expecting a difficult game against high-quality opposition, he is looking for his young side to build-on back-to-back wins and take encouragement from the cup draw at Liverpool when the Clarets played for over an hour with 10 men following the dismissal of Jordan Cropper.

“It’s a really good test for us. It’s one that I want, and I hope we can get more,” added the U23s boss, who had a watching brief in the game at Melwood before officially taking charge a few days later.

“Even with 11 men on the pitch they dominated possession. But there are opportunities on the counter-attack.

“We have been doing that well in the last few games and not only will they take encouragement from what they did at Liverpool, but how they played in the last two games, beating Bournemouth who are also technically a good side, and the challenge we had against Birmingham, who are up there in our league.

“We’ve shown two sides to our game, the playing aspect and the physical side we are coping with better, and that will give them the confidence going into today’s game.”

Kick-off at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium is 2pm, with free entry for Burnley and Liverpool season-ticket holders and general admission priced at £4 adults and £2 for over-65s and under-18s.

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Match Reports

Burnley U23s 0 Liverpool U23s 0

Clarets extend unbeaten run to enhance Premier League Cup hopes

8 February 2019

The Clarets extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League Cup to four games as they moved second in Group C and kept their qualification hopes alive.

A repeat of last November’s draw at Melwood means Liverpool are still yet to win, while Burnley will go into their final group game against West Bromwich Albion later this month with a chance to go through to the last 16.

A win at Curzon Ashton on 25 February will guarantee progress, and should the Baggies lose at home to group leaders Bournemouth next Monday night, a point in their last game could yet take Steve Stone’s men into the knock-out stages.

The Clarets’ prospects could have looked even brighter had they secured the back-to-back group wins they deserved with an impressive performance which saw the best chances come Burnley’s way.

But a clean sheet – with former Liverpool youngster Anthony Glennon and teenager Bobby Thomas rock-solid at the heart of the defence – means the Clarets still haven’t lost since their 7-1 reverse in their opening game in the competition.

After Storm Erik had passed through and allowed the game at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium to go ahead, the Clarets had to weather some early pressure.

But they survived that with Adam Legzdins making one fine save to touch over a header from Liverpool defender Rhys Williams.

And having found their feet on a heavy pitch and repelled the Reds’ early thrust, Burnley went on to dominate the remainder of the first half.

Marley Blair, looking to impress against the club that released him, gave an eye-catching performance with his pace on the left wing creating the Merseysiders plenty of problems.

He was close to giving the Clarets the lead when hooking the ball just wide after Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher had dropped a corner from Josh Benson, who again proved the Clarets’ control in the middle of the pitch.

And just before the break Blair delivered a near-post cross which Dan Agyei flicked wide before Agyei then fired an effort not far over the top as Burnley pushed for the opening their performance merited.

Early in the second half the best chances continued to come the Clarets’ way as Tunde Bayode failed to make the most of an opening at the far post and Blair again burst into the box to force Kelleher to make his first real save of the afternoon to keep out a driven left-foot effort.

Kelleher saved the Reds again with a block with his feet to deny Rob Harker at the end of an excellent run and from the corner that followed the Irish international was called into action once more to keep out a header from Thomas.

That was the Clarets’ last real threat as Liverpool finished strongly.

But Burnley’s back line refused to buckle with Legzdins called into action only once more, making an excellent last-minute save to turn over a header from Juanma Garcia as the Clarets put another big point on the board.

Burnley: Legzdins, Cropper, Thomas, Glennon, Wilson, Bayode, Trialist (Taylor 60), Benson, Blair, Agyei, Harker (Fowler 72). Substitutes: Stone, Clarke, Perkins.

Liverpool: Kelleher, Randall, Garcia, Williams, Johnston, Coyle (Glatzel 76), Duncan, Sharif, McAuley, Lewis. Larouci (Longstaff 76). Substitutes: McKenzie-Lyle, Dixon-Bonner.

Referee: Paul Brown

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