Arsenal Under-23s extend unbeaten run under Freddie Ljungberg with Eddie Nketiah on target in Liverpool thrashing

James Benge
Arsenal Under-23's thrashed their Liverpool counterparts at Boreham Wood: Getty Images

This management lark seems pretty easy for Freddie Ljungberg.

Seven games into his reign as head coach of the Arsenal Under-23s his side have already beaten senior opposition, Coventry City in the EFL Trophy, and sit top of the Premier League 2.

A 4-0 win over Liverpool took them to the summit, a brace from Eddie Nketiah and goals for Bukayo Saka and Joe Willock just rewards for a clinical display. Energetic, imaginative and cut-throat, these Arsenal starlets could easily be mistaken for 11 young Ljungbergs.

The young guns had to weather a storm early on, Adam Lewis curling a free-kick just wide of Deyan Iliev’s goal before the shot-stopper pounced when Liam Millar miscued a cross.

But the Gunners dealt with the early pressure from their visitors with composure, Joe Willock offering a mobile shield for a defence ably marshalled by Zech Medley.

Liverpool might have been able to offer more had their senior player made any significant contribution but If you were told one of these players was a 24-year-old Serbian international on £35,000-a-week you wouldn't think it was the one wearing No.9 for Liverpool. Lazar Markovic was anonymous.

Bukayo Saka on the score sheet for the young Gunners.

As Arsenal settled into the game the chances came and were snapped up with ease.

Nketiah and Saka combined superbly to slice through Liverpool’s backline midway through the first half, the former beating George Johnson to a loose ball and slipping in Saka, who clipped a left-footed shot out of Kamil Grabara’s reach.

Eddie Nketiah's instinctive finishing was on show on Friday evening. (Getty Images)

Arsenal scented blood and their lead was doubled moments later as Willock led a menacing press, winning possession on the edge of the Liverpool box and feeding Nketiah. A swivelling shot showed the instinctive nature of the young striker, who invariably seems to find himself in the right spot when a chance comes along. It will serve him well at senior level.

The game could have been over before the interval. Twice in a matter of minutes Saka got in behind the Liverpool defence down the left, cutting back to an unmarked Tyreece John-Jules. On each occasion the 17-year-old might have done better, curling wide first and then drawing a fine save from Grabara.

Arsenal swaggered their way through the second period, able to slice through Liverpool at will. Saka drifted infield from the left and found Nketiah on the edge of the area.

Even when Arsenal made an error Liverpool could not take advantage, Bobby Adekanye denied what seemed to be a tap in to an open goal when Danny Ballard slid in from nowhere to clear the ball.

Willock would get the goal he had so richly deserved in the 79th minute, surging down the left before cutting infield and sliding a low shot into the far corner, before Nketiah wrapped up the win with a poacher's finish in added time.