Liverpool's road to the knockout rounds in the U19 Champions League equivalent NextGen Series took a hit on Wednesday night when they fell to Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
A German first half penalty put hosts Borussia Dortmund up early, and after spurning a number of chances to equalise, Connor Coady finally drew Liverpool level just past the hour mark. Despite seeing more of the ball than their opponents throughout, though, converting that possession into chances and goals continued to prove troublesome after Coady's marker, and on seventy-seven minutes Dortmund pulled ahead for good.
Their second goal of the night now sees them ahead of Liverpool in a competitive group. It was Dortmund's first victory in three tries in the NextGen Series, and pushes them past Liverpool at the bottom of Group 5 with three points. Liverpool, meanwhile, are still without a point, playing two of their six games so far and having lost to Inter's U19s in the opening match. Roseborg and Inter Milan currently top the group with six points apiece.
With the top two sides advancing to the knockout rounds in January along with the top four third place sides from six groups, advancement is far from out of the question for Liverpool despite finding themselves without a point and stuck at the back of the pack after a rough start. Still, it's a disappointing beginning to the 2012-13 NextGen campaign after Liverpool managed a third place finish last year.
Though of course, many of the shortcomings shown by the club's kids to date in Europe have mirrored the shortcomings they showed last year—and mirrored the shortcomings of Liverpool's senior squad over the past few seasons, too. Talking about Liverpool controlling play or dominating possession or just generally being the better side but failing to turn that into goals and wins on a regular basis had already grown tiresome last season across all levels, and the early returns in the NextGen Series suggest the kids aren't any closer to figuring it out this season than their senior counterparts.
Rodolfo Borrell's squad on the night comprised Belford in Goal; McLaughlin, Smith, Sama, and Jones in defence; Coady, Adorjan, and Gainford in midfield; and Pelosi, Morgan, and Ibe in attack. Jerome Sinclair replaced Sam Gainford in the 60th minute and Kristoffer Peterson replaced Jordon Ibe in the 75th.