FA Youth Cup Preview: Manchester United U18s host Liverpool: How to watch and who will play?

A decade and three weeks to the day that Manchester United triumphed over Liverpool on the way to their last FA Youth Cup crown, the two sides face off again in the quarter-finals.

In March 2011, United visited Anfield for a true battle, typical of this historic derby. A 12,000-person crowd watched four players sent off, flares set off by the travelling United fans – many of whom sung rancid chants about the Hillsborough disaster – and a comeback victory for the visitors.

With sporting events still taking place behind-closed-doors, this enticing FA Youth Cup match-up will be played in the less romantic setting of Leigh Sports Village, Greater Manchester.

How to watch Manchester United vs Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup

The club’s official TV channel, MUTV, will screen the game.

United come into the tie in fantastic form. Neil Ryan’s side won all four of their fixtures in March, including a league tie against Liverpool and a Cup fixture against Salford City. The Reds are top of the U18 Premier League and are seeking to prevent their wait for FA Youth Cup glory from extending to over a decade.


Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Paul Pogba was one of two United players sent off in that 2011 game but was eligible for the final, in which United defeated Harry Maguire’s Sheffield United. Also sent off at Anfield were Tyler Blackett and Liverpool’s Conor Coady and Stephen Sama.

Ravel Morrison and Jesse Lingard were other famous members of that 2011 squad. Teams since have included great talent like Rashford, Gomes, Greenwood, Gribbin, Mengi, Garner, Tuanzebe and Januzaj but none have made it to the final since.

United’s best performance since 2011 came last year when they were defeated semi-finalists against Chelsea in October.

This season, the Reds saw off Salford City in the Third Round. The goals came from 16-year-old Daniel Gore and prolific 17-year-old striker Charlie McNeill.

Will Shola Shoretire play for Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup against Liverpool?

17-year-old Shola Shoretire did not feature for United in the Third Round against Salford City but is eligible to play. Having been a regular feature in the first team squad for much of February, his involvement has diminished in recent weeks. Shoretire spent the international break away on duty with England U18 but played only the first half for the Three Lions against Wales. He should be fit to play if United choose to use him.

The same is true for centre-back Will Fish. He too only played one half for England U18s.

Which Manchester United players are in the FA Youth Cup squad?

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Charlie McNeill led the line for United against Salford and is likely to do so again. Joe Hugill is eligible but has been the under-23s first-choice striker. However, the under-23s don’t play until next Friday and so, again, United have a choice to make there.

McNeill drew headlines after a post-match interview following the win against Salford.

“Hopefully we can keep progressing and we can win that game to rub it in Liverpool’s face.”

Charlie McNeill

United’s line-up against Salford City: Vitek; Hughes, Fernandez, Hardley, Savage; Svidersky (c), Hansen; Garnacho, Gore, Emeran; McNeill.

You can expect Neil Ryan to choose a reasonably similar starting line-up, although injuries and fitness will play a part.

Key players to watch out for

Martin Svidersky is a tidy and efficient central midfielder with good vision. Charlie McNeill is an outstanding finisher. Alejandro Garnacho is a tricky and quick winger while Alvaro Fernandez is a fine crosser and attacking full-back. Noam Emeran provides drive and speed from wide areas and Isak Hansen-Aaroen is a sleek attacking midfielder who doesn’t mind a challenge.

In truth, this under-18s set-up has seen contributions from all over the pitch this season. Unlike in other years, there is no one utterly outstanding player.

How did Liverpool get to the quarter-finals?

Liverpool set this tie up with a thumping win against Sutton United. Ethan Ennis scored a 22-minute hat-trick as a substitute. You can read a full match report here.

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Life-long Manchester United fan with a strong interest in the club's academy. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. First game at Old Trafford was the 7-1 rout of AS Roma in 2007.