Belfast Telegraph

Brendan Rodgers can rest easy as Liverpool kids show future is bright

By David Mason

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers may be wrestling defiantly with the Luis Suarez saga on the other side of the world, but he can take a certain degree of comfort from the fact that the current crop of talent emerging at Anfield is progressing with honours.

Even though Suarez continues to hog the spotlight with continuous transfer speculation, Rodgers may not have to look too for a replacement, should the controversial Uruguayan decide to depart.

Step forward Huertas Ortiz, known as Nacho, and Joao Carols Teixiera, who was snapped up from Sporting Lisbon.

Both players were the outstanding performers in last night’s 1-0 victory over Glentoran at a near empty Oval — the match being part of a quadrangular tournament, organised by Crusaders.

And, while Rodgers paraded his super-stars in front of 95,000 passionate fans at the MCG in Melbourne yesterday, the dynamic Nacho and Teixiera, indicated they could be destined for better things in the more mundane surroundings in east-Belfast

It was certainly a good workout for Eddie Patterson’s boys — a much-changed squad from last season following the departure of a posse of big name players, including Colin Nixon, Stephen Carson, Sean Ward and Andy Waterworth.

It was Swedish starlet Kristoffer Peterson who produced the first half breakthrough for the Reds, but up until that point, Patterson must have been happy with the effort from his team.

The Anfield kids were almost gifted an opener on five minutes when Mark Clarke, playing in an unfamiliar defensive roll, scooped the ball into the path of Peterson, who sent Adam Morgan racing clear, but Glens’ goalkeeper Elliott Morris produced a marvellous reflex save.

Glentoran responded with a Richard Clarke drive from a narrow angle that brought a smart save from Liverpool’s Ryan Fulton.

The talented Nacho then produced a piece of magic, weaving his way into the box, but his final pass was inches to long for Morgan.

Liverpool gave the fans something to cheer five minutes before the break.

Northern Ireland Under-21 international Ryan McLaughlin stormed down the right before crossing for Peterson to ram low past Morgan.

The tournament continues tonight when Crusaders face Scottish side Hearts, again at the Oval, with a 7.45pm kick-off.

Hearts will then face Liverpool on Saturday afternoon (2.30pm) in the final game of the tournament.

* Coleraine have handed Ryan McIlmoyle a two-year extension to his contract at the Showgrounds.

The former Dungannon Swifts winger impressed after being switched to left-back last season and he will now stay at the club until 2016.

“Ryan had a superb season last year and based on his performances, is up there with the best players in the league in that position,” said manager Oran Kearney.

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