Brooks Lennon is continuing to stake a claim to be the long-term replacement for Danny Ings in Liverpool's second team, despite being overlooked to lead the line in the latest under-23 victory. The American netted his fourth goal in as many home fixtures in the 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in the Premier League Cup, but it was Toni Gomes who spearheaded the attack for Michael Beale's side.
Lennon opened the scoring in the first half, before late efforts from Harry Wilson and Cameron Brannagan secured the win at Prenton Park. The 19-year-old's versatility saw him moved from a central role, with Gomes given an opportunity to leading the line – however the latter was unable to find the net.
The pair are currently vying to be the main man in the Liverpool attack in the absence of Ings, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered against Tottenham Hotspur in the English Football League Cup. The England international was first choice for the Reds' Under-23 side, as well as the EFL Cup – where Lennon and Gomes could yet be handed a first-team opportunity against Leeds United later this month.
"I think the hard thing is we haven't had a settled number nine," Beale told the Liverpool Echo on Gomes, who has scored one in three appearances in Premier League 2. "It's been Danny [Ings] in some games, Brooks [Lennon] in some games, Toni in some games," he said. "For a young player if you play four or five games on the bounce you settle – especially if you're a centre forward and the chances come.
"It's early for him, he's only an under 18. When Jerome Sinclair played as an under 18 he didn't score too many goals either. So I think Toni's overall record in the youth team last year – 20 plus goals – and five or six this year is across the two teams is still positive."
Another player looking to force their way into Jurgen Klopp's thinking during the remainder of the season is Brannagan, who was handed his senior debut last January and made nine appearances in all competitions last term. The 20-year-old has not featured in a first team squad this season, but his return to form against the Terriers could trigger a revival in his Liverpool career.
"I was really pleased for Cammy that he scored," Liverpool's academy coach Beale added. "I didn't think he was fantastic at Manchester City and I didn't think he was very good in the first half today so we had a little chat at half time and I thought [in the] second half he came into his own.
"He scored a really good goal at the end and that's important because he's working on that every day in training. They're a very good team. They play a similar style to us, both full backs [push] on and lots of people in the middle – it was an interesting game."