Rhian Brewster made his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt since suffering injury 14 months ago on Friday, and it took him just six minutes to score again.
Brewster caught the eye with his outstanding finishing ability for the Reds’ academy sides before an ankle injury sustained in January of last year ruled him out.
The 18-year-old endured a series of setbacks in his recovery, most notably requiring knee surgery, but was promoted to Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team squad in a clear sign of the manager’s faith.
He has since returned to full training and, in July, signed his first professional contract with the club, keeping him tied down until 2023.
And on Friday, he made his return to the field in a behind-closed-doors friendly clash between the Liverpool U23s and Northwestern University.
Taking on humble opposition in a low-profile encounter, it would be wise not to go overboard with Brewster’s performance at Kirkby, but he certainly showed signs of his immense potential.
He started the game alongside Glen McAuley in attack, in a side that also included Ben Woodburn, Connor Randall, Corey Whelan, Liam Coyle and Conor Masterson, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain watching on alongside Rob Jones and Alex Inglethorpe.
Just six minutes into his first game in over a year, Brewster had found the back of the net again, with his curler from outside the box breaking the deadlock.
And he grabbed another before the end of his 45-minute outing, beating the goalkeeper for a second time after McAuley had struck the crossbar, before a Tony Gallacher doubled rounded off a 4-0 victory.
That first finish ??@RhianBrewster9 returns with a brilliant brace ??? pic.twitter.com/9H5I2uHgeM
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 29 March 2019
Replaced at the break, it is clear that Liverpool won’t take any risks with Brewster at this stage, and it seems unlikely he will be part of a matchday squad for the first team between now and May.
But the U23s are next in competitive action against Chelsea on April 6, which could provide the striker with another opportunity to get minutes.
After that, there are only two other fixtures scheduled for Neil Critchley‘s side, though Brewster is still eligible to play for the U18s, whose next clash is at Everton on Saturday morning.