Harry Wilson's second-half brace ensured Liverpool's starlets booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
Amid difficult weather conditions, Neil Critchley's side had earned an advantage through Daniel Trickett-Smith, only for Harry McKirdy to wipe out the visitors' deficit before the break.
But it was the Academy prodigy Wilson who had the greatest influence, rising from the bench to strike twice and set up a clash with either Norwich City or Watford at the next stage of the competition.
Before the action kicked off at Langtree Park, a minute's applause was held in memory of former Academy player Thomas Stocks, who passed away on January 10 following a two-year battle with leukaemia.
The first genuine highlight of the encounter occurred in the fifth minute; Sheyi Ojo retrieved possession on the right flank, sprinted forward and set up Trickett-Smith, who saw a blast punched away by goalkeeper Charlie Bannister.
Villa's stopper was required to produce another important save moments later when Ryan Kent was afforded space on the left corner of the penalty box to drill a low effort at goal which was tipped away.
With 18 minutes on the clock, it was Ojo's turn to train his sights - teed up by Kent when the wide-man had travelled along the left wing, the No.7 launched his strike too high, though.
Fortunately, it mattered little as Trickett-Smith produced a moment of sheer quality seconds later; picked out from the left by Joe Maguire, the talented attacker took one touch and lobbed an incredible volley over the 'keeper and into the top corner.
Although the young Reds appeared dominant at this stage, the visitors struck back shortly before the half-hour. A cross from the right flank troubled the Liverpool defence and McKirdy took advantage to force the ball underneath Ryan Crump for 1-1.
Morale boosted, Villa mounted another attack and a combination of Jordan Rossiter's lunging challenge and the quick instincts of Crump thwarted McKirdy as the forward sensed a second strike in St Helens.
Within two minutes of the second half resuming, McKirdy did have the ball in the net again after converting with a close-range header - but, to the hosts' relief, the linesman ruled that the centre from the right had carried out of play.
Wilson had joined proceedings as a replacement for Ojo at half-time and the 16-year-old rifled a powerful set-piece narrowly over the Villa crossbar as the Reds attempted to regain their lead.
Trickett-Smith cracked another ambitious volley - over the bar on this occasion - with an hour played, then Wilson watched a shot deflect away from danger following progressive work by captain Connor Randall.
As the game entered its final quarter, Liverpool denied their opponents a second and instantly grabbed their own; Rossiter cleared a header off the line and, from the subsequent counter-attack, Wilson strode forward, checked inside and directed a precise effort into the far corner.
And it was the Welsh international who booked the Reds' place in the next round of the elite youth tournament, collecting another accurate pass from Kent, rounding his marker and repeating his previous conversion with ease.
A smart stop by Bannister in stoppage time denied Wilson the glory of a hat-trick, but the winger had already done more than enough to secure a spot in the fifth round.