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Liverpool forward makes domestic return after 13 months in U23s win

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Liverpool youngster Layton Stewart made his competitive return for the under-23s on Sunday afternoon, coming off the bench in a 3-0 win over West Ham.

Stewart had suffered an ACL injury in March 2021 whilst with the under-23s, with his return to action a steady one as the club opted to be cautious during his recovery.

He did play 45 minutes in the Al Abtal Cup earlier in March in what marked his long-awaited return to the pitch.

But Sunday’s Premier League 2 match against West Ham was his first game in an official capacity so to speak, having come off the bench for the final 25 minutes.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 13, 2021: Liverpool's Layton Stewart during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and West Ham United FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

By the time the 19-year-old was called upon, the Reds were 2-0 up thanks to a quick start in the second half that saw both goals scored in the space of five minutes.

Jack Bearne was credited with the opener but his shot was spilt by the ‘keeper and James Norris could be in with a claim having looked to force the ball over the line.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 17, 2022: Liverpool's Captain Tom Clayton celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and West Ham United FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

And having struggled to find a clear opening in the first half, the young Reds changed that script as they flooded forward and got their rewards, with Tyler Morton making it 2-0 for his second goal in a week.

The midfielder found himself in the right spot to send the ball into the back of the net after the ‘keeper once again parried it into the path of a Red, this time the initial shot came from Tom Clayton.

Stewart was then introduced in the 65th minute, replacing Mateusz Musialowski, just moments before Clayton added the third of the afternoon after getting on the end of a Conor Bradley cross.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 17, 2022: Liverpool's Conor Bradley (L) and Liverpool's Jarell Quansah celebrate a 3-0 win after the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and West Ham United FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

And it was nearly the dream return to domestic action for the 19-year-old, only for his shot to be cleared off the line in what was a bright and significant cameo.

With two games remaining in the U23s season, Stewart could yet get more minutes under his belt against Leicester and Man United before building up a base once more over the summer.


Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga; Bradley, Beck, Quansah, Williams; Clarkson, Morton, Clayton (Corness 81′); Norris, Musialowski (Stewart 65′), Bearne (Woltman 80′)

Subs not used: Kelly, Koumetio

Next Match: Leicester (A) – Premier League 2 – Monday, April 25, 7pm (BST)

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