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Nov 9, 2021 at 7pm UK
Port ValePort Vale
Liverpool U21sLiverpool Under-21s
Lloyd (15'), Politic (26'), Benning (51'), Martin (63'), Taylor (77')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Port Vale vs. Liverpool Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Port Vale vs. Liverpool Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's EFL Trophy clash between Port Vale and Liverpool Under-21s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Seeking to avoid a third straight defeat in the EFL Trophy, Liverpool Under-21s prepare for battle with Port Vale on Tuesday evening.

The visitors sit bottom of the rankings in Northern section Group D, while their League Two hosts will endeavour to pip Rochdale to second spot and a place in the next round.

Match preview

James Wilson never quite made it at Manchester United, but the former Old Trafford protege has not lost his golden touch in front of goal, chalking up three of his side's five strikes against Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.

George Lloyd and Lewis Cass also netted in a dominant success for Darrell Clarke's in-form hosts, who have now won three on the bounce in all tournaments following crushing victories over Crawley Town and Colchester United in the fourth tier, which they currently sit second in.

Port Vale's EFL Trophy bid began in poor fashion with a 3-2 defeat to Bolton Wanderers - who are now guaranteed to advance as group winners - but a 1-0 success over Rochdale thanks to Max Taylor's 93rd-minute own goal means that their destiny is in their own hands.

A point would be enough for the League Two side to clinch second spot, and they head into this battle having scored 19 goals in their last six games in all tournaments - a record that a leaky Liverpool defence can hardly take confidence from.

Firstly witnessing his side ship four to Rochdale on the opening matchday, Barry Lewtas was then forced to endure another painful 90 minutes for his Liverpool youngsters as Bolton Wanderers also put a quartet of goals past them last month.

Elijah Dixon-Bonner's effort was nothing more than a consolation for the Merseyside outfit, who need nothing short of a miracle to somehow save their bacon in the tournament now, with no less than an eight-goal swing in their favour required.

The Reds hardly come into this fixture brimming with confidence either, as they went down 3-0 to West Ham United's Under-23s in Premier League 2 action at the weekend, conceding twice in quick succession to Sonny Perkins and Thierry Nevers before the 20-minute mark.

Inconsistency has bedevilled Liverpool's up-and-coming crop in league action this term, and while several top-flight academy sides have produced the goods in the EFL Cup this term, their run in the tournament will surely come to an end in midweek.

Port Vale EFL Trophy form:
  • L
  • W

Port Vale form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Liverpool Under-21s EFL Trophy form:
  • L
  • L

Team News

Port Vale still have a number of injury concerns to work around ahead of this clash, with Jamie Proctor undergoing a hernia operation at the weekend while Devante Rodney, Ryan Johnson and Alex Hurst are also set to miss out.

Leon Legge was fit enough to make the bench against Accrington and could earn some minutes in midweek, Clarke has confirmed, but the 36-year-old is unlikely to be considered from the off.

The likes of George Lloyd and Jake Taylor are pushing for inclusion from the first whistle, but Clarke will be reluctant to drop Wilson following his three-goal cameo at the weekend.

Liverpool have been handed a boost with talented winger Kaide Gordon, who featured for 45 minutes against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Youth League in midweek.

However, Dixon-Bonner lasted just 22 minutes of the defeat to West Ham, while Conor Bradley, Owen Beck and James Balagizi all have international commitments.

Jarell Quansah and Dominic Corness will both be vying for starting roles this week, with the latter aiming to take advantage of Dixon-Bonner's enforced absence.

Port Vale possible starting lineup:
Stone; Martin, Cass, Smith; Worrall, Taylor, Pett, Gibbons; Politic, Wilson, Amoo

Liverpool Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Marcelo; Wilson, Quansah, Phillips, Gallacher; Bearne, Corness, Ritaccio, Musialowski; Woltman, O'Rourke

We say: Port Vale 3-1 Liverpool Under-21s

With Liverpool struggling to keep the back door shut in this competition and missing numerous players due to international call-ups and injury, we can only envisage the Reds ending up on the wrong end of the scoreline as an in-form Port Vale advance comfortably.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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