KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 3, 2022: Liverpool's Layton Stewart during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester United FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

20-year-old academy striker makes Championship move after 13 years at LFC

Academy forward Layton Stewart has been with Liverpool since the age of seven, but he is now trading his boyhood club for a shot in the Championship.

The 20-year-old scored 12 goals in 21 appearances for the under-21s last season, a valuable boost to his confidence after a nightmare run with injuries.

The forward was sidelined for 13 months with an ACL injury and season 2022/23 was his opportunity to return to the pitch and build a strong foundation for himself.

Jurgen Klopp aided his comeback by handing the youngster his full senior debut in November, he was named in the starting lineup for the Carabao Cup clash with Derby at Anfield, an experience he called “priceless.”

But the next chapter of his career takes him to Preston on a three-year deal, with Stewart hoping to find consistent first-team minutes in the Championship.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 9, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp embraces Layton Stewart during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Derby County FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The move was announced on Saturday, and as reported by the Athletic, the deal includes a buy-back clause, which is regular practice from the club when it comes to deals like this.

The striker was expected to become the latest academy player to make a loan move but it is a lot more permanent than that, and the Reds will feel he is in capable hands at Preston.

Liverpool have a close relationship with the Lilywhites having loaned the likes of Sepp van den Berg in the past, and Calvin Ramsay is currently on loan at Deepdale.

Stewart’s move ends his 13-year spell at the club, but he leaves having accomplished his childhood dream.

“I have dreamt of this since I knew what Liverpool was,” he said after his senior debut at Anfield in November.

“I come week in and week out and watch them and to step foot on the pitch at Anfield was, again, I don’t have words to describe it.”

All the best for the future, Layton!