Liverpool under-23s striker Layton Stewart has suffered a season-ending ACL injury, with the 18-year-old expressing his desire to return “as soon as possible.”
Stewart was stretchered off in the second half of the U23s’ 1-1 draw with West Ham on Saturday, having struck his knee in a collision with a Hammers defender.
It was suspected that the extent of the teenager’s injury was severe, and Stewart has now confirmed that he will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured ACL.
“As most of you probably already know I suffered an injury to my right knee in last night’s game, which will [require] me to get another operation as I’ve ruptured my ACL,” he wrote on Instagram.
“It’s a hard one to take but time to focus on my rehabilitation and getting myself back fit and playing as soon as possible.
“It’s going to be a long road to recovery but I’ll be back.”
The youngster had been in excellent form this season as he made the step up from the under-18s, with 17 goals and three assists in 18 appearances over the age groups, currently standing as the academy’s leading scorer.
But now he will be required to focus on his recovery, with time certainly on his side having only turned 18 in September.
Stewart is a hugely popular player in the academy setup, which was reflected in the number of well-wishes from team-mates both former and current following his message on Sunday.
Harvey Elliott, Pedro Chirivella, Billy Koumetio, Owen Beck, Tyler Morton and Liam Coyle were among those telling the striker to “stay strong,” with Curtis Jones, Liam Millar and Harvey Davies hoping for a “speedy recovery.”
The overriding message was that Stewart would be “back stronger,” which was echoed by Paul Glatzel, Leighton Clarkson, Bobby Duncan, James Balagizi, Ben Winterbottom, Tony Gallacher, Dominic Corness and Kaide Gordon.
Neil Mellor, who has worked with Stewart as part of his role with LFCTV, wrote: “All the best with the recovery. You will be back scoring goals again.”
Glatzel’s words are perhaps the most poignant, given his own injury problems since making the initial breakthrough at Kirkby, with Stewart effectively taking his place at U23 level this season.
Stewart is not the only academy player whose campaign has been ended prematurely, with Tom Hill and Jack Bearne also out for the remainder of 2021/22.