LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 22, 2020: Liverpool's Layton Stewart celebrates scoring the third goal, his hat-trick, to put his side 3-0 up during the Under-18 FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Layton Stewart scores first goal in 14 months as Harvey Elliott starts for U23s

Liverpool under-23s continued their rich vein of form with a convincing 4-0 win over Leicester on a night that saw Harvey Elliott start and Leyton Stewart back on the scoresheet.

Leicester U23s 0-4 Liverpool U23s

Premier League 2, Leicester City Training Ground
April 26, 2022

Goals: Norris 45+3′, Bearne 49′, Stewart 60′, Balagizi 84′

After making a surprise academy outing at the start of April, Elliott was again named in Barry Lewtas‘ XI on Monday night having not made a senior outing since the trip to Nottingham Forest in March.

The 19-year-old, who played 45 minutes, made up a strong XI for the young Reds that also included Conor Bradley, Rhys Williams, Billy Koumetio, Owen Beck, Leighton Clarkson and Tyler Morton.

But the occasion was also significant for the return of Stewart in the XI, a week on from his appearance off the bench after 13 months out with an ACL injury.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 19, 2021: Liverpool's Jack Bearne during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and Leeds United AFC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. Leeds United won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And the forward’s first start in domestic competition in more than a year was to be a memorable one.

James Norris was the one to break Leicester‘s resolve in first-half stoppage time and the scoreboard was compounded when Jack Bearne added another just four minutes after the half-time break.

It represented Bearne’s fifth goal in his last six outings with Morton notching two assists as the Reds’ dominance was rightly reflected.

But it was the turn of the hour that saw Stewart’s moment arrive, getting on the end of Norris’ pass to make it 3-0 from distance with his shot coming in off the inside of the post, ending a 14-month wait to score for Liverpool once again.

The scenes of celebration made with his teammates spoke volumes before his pre-planned substitution after 60 minutes.

“It was so nice to see Layton score as he has been out for a while,” Lewtas told the club’s official website.

“It was a great goal, a great finish and a different type of Layton goal, to be fair, with a shot from distance.

“The celebrations with the lads told its own story and it was lovely to see. It’s been a long road for him but he has done really well.”

James Balagizi, who came on in place of Stewart, put the finishing touches on the win by following up Bearne’s effort that struck the bar with six minutes remaining to make it 4-0.

The result saw the young Reds cruise to victory to extend their unbeaten run to nine games in what was the penultimate Premier League 2 game of the season.

Liverpool U23s: Davies; Bradley, Williams, Koumetio, Beck (Quansah 82′); Clarkson, Morton; Elliott (Corness 46′), Norris, Bearne; Stewart (Balagizi 61′)

Subs not used: Kelly, Clayton

Next match: Man United (H) – Premier League 2 – Sunday, May 1, 2pm (BST)