Report: Liverpool U23s 2 Swans U23s 0
Swansea City Under-23s’ Premier League International Cup campaign ended with a 2-0 defeat by Liverpool.
Goals from Lazar Markovic and Glen McAuley were the difference as the young Swans bowed out of the competition in fourth place in Group E.
The visitors battled well and showed plenty of spirit after the experienced Markovic put the Reds in front after 16 minutes at the Liverpool Academy.
However, any hopes of a way back into the game were dashed when McAuley made it 2-0 with 13 minutes remaining.
With the fate of the Swans already sealed, Cameron Toshack and Gary Richards made eight changes to the side that started the Premier League Cup victory over Oxford United last Saturday – with only Gregor Zabret, Tyler Reid and Jordon Garrick remaining.
They had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the ninth minute as Liam Cullen’s cross found the unmarked Oli Cooper, who could only volley wide from inside the area.
At the other end, Kees de Boer was well-placed to make a vital goal-line clearance to divert McAuley’s shot away from danger.
However, there was no denying the Reds in the 16th minute when McAuley played in Markovic, who was allowed too much time to race away from the defence before poking the ball past Zabret.
The Swans responded well to falling behind with Reid making some dangerous runs from right-back, while it took a crucial Conor Masterson intervention to deny Cullen a clear sight on goal.
But, their momentum stalled as the clock ticked down towards half-time as Garrick was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Liverpool almost capitalised as Matthew Blake was forced to clear off the line following a mix-up in the Swans defence, before Connor Randall drilled just wide of the target.
The visitors controlled large periods of the second half and it took smart reflexes from Shamal George to deny Botti Biabi from close range, as well as Adnan Maric’s dipping long-range drive.
Meanwhile, the unmarked De Boer saw a great chance go begging when he was unable to steer Reid’s cross towards goal.
But, Swansea's hopes of snatching a share of the spoils were dashed 13 minutes from time, as McAuley turned goalscorer to head home Abdi Sharif’s cross.
Liverpool U23s: Shamal George, Connor Randall, Juanma Garcia, Conor Masterson, George Johnston (capt), Corey Whelan (Rhys Williams, 65), Matthew Virtue (Isaac Christie-Davies, 65), Pedro Chirivella, Glen McAuley, Abdi Sharif, Lazar Markovic (Bobby Duncan, 78).
Subs not used: Liam Coyle, Kai Mckenzie-Lyle.
Swans U23s: Gregor Zabret, Tyler Reid, Matthew Blake, Kees de Boer, Keston Davies (capt), Joe Lewis, Jordon Garrick (Keiran Evans, 39), Adnan Maric, Botti Biabi, Oli Cooper, Liam Cullen.
Subs not used: Nathan Shepperd, Simon Paulet, Cameron Evans, Mason Jones-Thomas, Adam King, Tom Price.