A Sheyi Ojo hat-trick put Liverpool’s U21s on their way to a 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough U21s at Hartlepool’s Victoria Park on Monday night.
The 18-year-old helped the young Reds come from 1-0 behind in the first half, before netting a further two goals to seal an emphatic late win.
His first came on the break, combining with Jerome Sinclair before powering home with his left foot, cancelling out Arnel Jakupovic’s opening strike for Middlesbrough.
Adding a second shortly after the break, Ojo showed his technical prowess by cutting in from the left flank before looping an excellent shot beyond goalkeeper Joseph Fryer to put Liverpool 2-1 up.
Jakupovic then equalised from the penalty spot, setting up a tense finale at Victoria Park.
But with Sinclair downed in the Middlesbrough box in the closing stages, Ojo was on hand to step up and launch his spot-kick into the back of the net after a confident, stuttered run-up.
This victory put the U21s within touching distance of fourth-placed Everton in the U21 Premier League, but the Toffees have two games in hand.
While Ojo was content to help the U21s to victory on Monday night, speaking after the game he outlined his ambitions of securing a first-team place in the long term.
“Hopefully I can impress the manager whenever I get the opportunity,” Ojo said.
“I have to keep trying to do well for the under-21s, keep learning and push on from there.
“It was nice to get a hat-trick but my main focus was to get the three points.
“I should have scored even more goals and I need to work on that but it was a great win for us.”
Liverpool’s U21s’ next outing is on Friday night, taking on Manchester United at Prenton Park.
United currently sit second in the U21 Premier League’s Division 1.
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