Barclays Under-21 Premier League semi-final
Anfield, Friday 2 May


(A.Pereira 44)

02/05/2014 21:33, Report by Adam Marshall
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U21: Liverpool 0 United 1

Manchester United retained a grip on the Barclays Under-21 Premier League trophy thanks to Andreas Pereira's wonderful winner at Liverpool.

A dogged performance at Anfield secured a sweet semi-final triumph to set up a clash against Chelsea with the date and venue still to be decided.

The Reds made a blistering start and should have been ahead inside four minutes. Brad Smith unwisely gifted James Wilson possession on the edge of the box and, although his shot beat Ryan Fulton, it came back off a post. The fact the striker held his head in his hands suggested he felt he should have scored.

Joe Rothwell then fizzed a shot over the top after Saidy Janko's cross fell to Tom Lawrence outside the area as the pressing from midfield threatened to reap dividends. The Merseysiders gradually got a foothold in the game but Ben Amos was untroubled by off-target efforts from Jordan Lussey and Kristoffer Peterson.

Paddy McNair, the hero at Reading in the last outing, forced a good stop out of Fulton on the half-hour mark with the keeper reacting well to save at Wilson's feet as the ball went loose inside the six-yard box. With Lawrence, back from a loan spell at Yeovil Town, Pearson and Rothwell buzzing around with intent, the Reds were rewarded with a goal a minute before half time.

Rothwell and Lawrence traded passes but there seemed little danger when Pereira collected, only for the precociously-talented Belgian to dip a stunning curler past Fulton at the Kop End. Jack Dunn, who had been quiet, blasted wide in response from a Cameron Brannigan backheel but United were looking good at the interval.

Although Pereira tried his luck from distance again to force a straightforward save out of Fulton, United were largely content to contain the hosts and comfortably draw out their sting. Amos made simple stops to deny Peterson and Rafael Paez, who rose highest to win a header, but was not overly

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