Neil Critchley highlighted the consistency of George Johnston after Liverpool U23s’ captain scored a superb equaliser in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

The centre-back met an Adam Lewis cross to net an 83rd-minute leveller that earned the young Reds a point at the Academy. 

U18s captain Paul Glatzel, who has netted 21 goals so far this term, made his U23s bow as he started up front alongside Glen McAuley.

Read on for Critchley’s thoughts on Johnston’s display, Glatzel’s debut and the result…

On Johnston’s goal and fine overall display…

George has been brilliant for us all season. I think he epitomised not just our performance, but the qualities these boys have showed all season really. It was something we highlighted before the game, to say if we could put the ball in behind them or in the box then they could be vulnerable. Adam Lewis put the ball in, I’m not sure whether he aimed for George, but it’s gone behind them with a really good ball and it was a terrific sort of deft glancing finish from George with his right foot. I’m not sure how he did it but he did and it was an outstanding piece of skill.

On Glatzel’s debut…

Some players have obviously left the club, some on loan and some of the lads where with the first team. Around this stage of the season you find that the boys who are performing well at U18 level will get their chance to step up and perform, and Paul is one of them. Abdi Sharif is the same, Yasser Larouci, and the boys we had on the bench as well. We finished with a very young team and I suspect that will probably be the case for the rest of the season. Paul had to do a lot of work without the ball and do a lot of defending, which for a boy who is a goalscorer and always wants the ball, I thought he did it very diligently and was intelligent as well. He didn’t get frustrated. He is intelligent and was unlucky not to score. I thought his all-round contribution to a good performance was very good.

On whether a draw was a fair result…

Maybe. In the first half they had the lion’s share of the possession and were the team in the ascendancy. That changed in the second half and I thought their goal came against the run of play. After that I thought our response to going behind was magnificent and the fighting qualities that we showed were outstanding. These boys never know when they are beat and an unlikely source got us an equaliser but it was a great finish from George. I would say it was a fair result.

On a change of formation in the second half…

We changed the shape because we were losing. We had a plan and wanted to protect the middle of the pitch to make it difficult for them to play through us. For the majority of the game we did that really well, except for their first goal. We changed to a diamond formation and pressed them higher and disrupted their rhythm a bit more and it changed the momentum of the game. That helped us and we finished the game on the front foot.

On Friday’s meeting with Burnley in the Premier League Cup…

The games keep on coming and that’s how we like it. We want the players to play games and play under pressure. If they are going to play in the Premier League or the Football League then they are going to have to get used to playing games in quick succession and games that mean something. We need to possibly win that game to try and qualify out of the group so we will recover and get ready for Friday.

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