George Waring's brace helped to ensure that Liverpool U18s suffered an unfortunate 4-0 defeat by Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The forward's double - coupled with strikes from Jake Cook and Marcel Barrington - sadly ended Steve Cooper's side's hopes of winning Group 1 of the Barclays U18 Premier League.
The result leaves them in third place in the table, with Saturday's trip to Sunderland the final game of the season.
Liverpool were denied the opportunity to settle into proceedings as the home side broke the deadlock after 90 seconds.
A free-kick was floated over the Reds rearguard and Waring was afforded ample space to meet the ball with a calmly side-footed volley into the corner to stun the visitors.
The Reds responded in exemplary fashion when intricate passing gifted Alex O'Hanlon a sight of goal.
A rapid passing exchange between Jerome Sinclair and Cameron Brannagan resulted in the latter laying the ball across to O'Hanlon on the left of the 18-yard box.
The Irishman swiftly fired a stinging effort that unfortunately flew straight at Dale Eve, allowing the goalkeeper to parry the ball away from danger.
The visitors were left to rue that missed chance as Cook took advantage of a mistake by Ryan Fulton to extend the Potters' lead in the 26th minute.
The Reds custodian was unfortunate as he charged out in an attempt to catch Oliver Shenton's cross. Fulton fumbled as the ball dropped into the path of Cook, handing the midfielder the opportunity to tap it into the gaping net.
Cooper's youngsters continued to press valiantly and were nearly rewarded for their efforts on two occasions as half-time approached.
O'Hanlon was the main architect of both attacks, the first of which saw him slide the ball through the backline to Sinclair. The striker drilled a hopeful shot from an acute angle that Eve palmed away before the towering shot-stopper was called into action again shortly after.
The influential O'Hanlon lofted a pass to Daniel Trickett-Smith, who raced towards goal before attempting to loop the ball over Eve but was foiled by the fingertips of the goalkeeper.
The Reds did not allow half-time to slow their momentum as they created two inviting chances either side of the 50-minute mark.
Brannagan was involved in yet another passage of one-two passing play - this time with Ryan Kent - which teed the former up for a 20-yard shot that was blocked on its way to goal. Brannagan called for handball in the 18-yard box but his appeal was ignored.
Kent was the provider again two minutes later when he set Sinclair up for a chance reminiscent of his first-half opportunity. The outcome mirrored his early attempt as his shot from a tight angle was prevented.
Similar to the early stages of the encounter, Liverpool were stung shortly after a period of pressure exerted by the visitors.
Stoke countered the Reds with a pass from deep that Waring latched onto before surging towards goal. The frontman hit a low strike that fortuitously slid between the legs of Fulton and into the far corner.
Yalany Baio came agonisingly close to grabbing a consolation goal in stunning circumstances with 20 minutes remaining. The full-back cut inside from the right flank before rifling an unstoppable 30-yard drive that crashed off the crossbar.
The home side's long ball tactics paid dividends when they hit a fourth immediately after.
A pass played from the Potters' half was flicked into the path of Barrington by Waring. The youngster burst past the onrushing Fulton before tucking the ball into an open net to secure the Potters' victory.