There was a four-goal haul for Liverpool under-21s striker Layton Stewart as they played out a 7-4 victory over Fleetwood Town in a friendly on Friday.
With no competitive fixtures until January 8, when they host Tottenham, the young Reds were given a short break as football paused for the World Cup.
But Barry Lewtas is now back with his squad and oversaw a behind-closed-doors friendly against League One side Fleetwood to maintain fitness and rhythm.
Stewart was among those to start at the AXA Training Centre on Friday, with the in-form 20-year-old netting four in a high-scoring tie that at one stage saw Liverpool 7-1 up.
His four-goal afternoon came after an impressive start to the season which brought seven goals and three assists in 11 games for the academy, along with a first-team debut.
The Scouser was a surprise starter in the Carabao Cup clash with Derby before the break, playing 66 minutes in an eventual penalty-shootout win for the Reds.
This season finds Stewart making up for lost time after a lengthy spell out due to an ACL injury, and speaking to the club’s official website after the friendly, U21s coach Lewtas praised a player “full of confidence.”
“Layton is getting sharper and sharper and he’s full of confidence after making his first-team debut,” he explained.
“It was another proud night for the academy when our manager handed Layton his debut.
“Layton is a local lad who has been here since pre-academy and has gone all the way.
“Like any boy who comes through the journey, he’s had his setbacks, but he’s worked ever so hard and he’s scored goals at Premier League 2 level and been excellent for us.
“To get his debut was a moment he will never forget and he knows the hard work continues if he wants more chances with the first team.”