Liverpool U23 Brooks Lennon happy to prove his worth in Everton win
BIRKENHEAD, England -- Liverpool youngster Brooks Lennon believes he fully grasped his opportunity to prove his worth by scoring in the Under-23's 2-0 victory over Everton on Sunday.
The U.S. forward opened the scoring in the mini-Merseyside derby with a well-taken header shortly after half-time before captain Harry Wilson secured the win for Liverpool's second string in the 77th minute.
Manager Michael Beale wanted Lennon to replicate the performances of striker Danny Ings, who has been firing on all cylinders for the U23s so far this season.
Ings' presence in Beale's side has restricted Lennon's playing time in recent months but the 19-year-old insists he always knew he would get his chance eventually.
"Mick just told me to work as hard as possible and try to work for the team," Lennon told reporters. "I think I did that today. I always try to work as hard as I possibly can and I'm just happy we could win today.
"You're always up for the derby and it's a big game. When the time comes you've just got to be ready and I'm glad I could get a goal for the team today. It's just a really big performance for the team and we just have to keep going and keep looking forward.
"I'm always working hard in practice and I know my time is going to come eventually. When the time comes you have just got to be ready and you have got to capitalise on your opportunities, and I think I did that today."
Lennon broke the deadlock at Prenton Park -- the home of National League side Tranmere Rovers -- after he converted left-back Joe Maguire's accurate cross in the 49th minute.
The former Real Salt Lake City trainee said that his hard work on the training ground paid dividends as the move was something the pair had been working on every morning at Liverpool's Kirkby academy.
"Me and Joe Maguire have been practising on the crossing and heading aspect of my game," Lennon said. "I think it was really just a training-ground routine and I'm really happy it came off -- it was a great ball by Joe."
Beale was left delighted by his striker's contribution and hailed his attitude after not playing as much as he would have liked recently.
"We asked Brooks to put in a Danny Ings-esque performance in terms of energy -- that willingness to chase lost causes," Beale said. "What a lesson it's been for Brooks watching Danny in recent weeks. I was really pleased with him.
"Brooks is trying to make up his mind at the minute. For the United States U21s he's either wide left or right, but we feel that he suits our system as the No. 9 with the energy that he brings.
"I've not seen him score too many headers. It's a part of his game that he works on every morning so credit to him. Even when the cross went in, I still felt that he had a lot to do.
"Tight games like a derby are often settled by something like that -- a player going the extra mile for the team. It's been tough for Brooks the past few weeks but he will have enjoyed that.
"His whole world has been rocked by not starting games but you live for moments like this."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.