Brendan Rodgers watched on at Anfield on Tuesday night as Luis Alberto struck a second-half hat-trick as Liverpool U21s beat Sunderland U21s 5-2.
Trailing 2-1 at half-time thanks to goals from Black Cats’ Alejandro Rodriguez-Gorrin and David Moberg Karlsson, the Spanish attacker hit three after the break with a Raheem Sterling goal turning the game well in the Reds’ favour.
Liverpool’s first of the night had come shortly before half-time through Jack Dunn after Sunderland had gone 2-0 up.
Portuguese U20 international Tiago Ilori also started his first game in a Liverpool shirt since his transfer deadline day move from Sporting Lisbon and showed some of the qualities that made Rodgers snap him up.
Rodgers watched on from the stands and will be pleased with the resurgence in performance he saw from Alex Inglethorpe’s side in the latter stages of the game.
Philippe Coutinho was forced off during Monday night’s 2-2 draw at Swansea, which could open up a starting place in Liverpool’s attack, behind Daniel Sturridge, for what is Luis Suarez’s final game of his 10-match ban.
Sterling will have also impressed Rodgers – scoring Liverpool’s third of the night to give them the lead for the first time in the proceedings and later winning the penalty with Alberto converted for his third and the Reds’ fifth.
There was a good turnout for this rare Anfield U21s outing, despite the cold temperatures of this less than balmy September night.