Liam Millar marked his competitive debut for Liverpool's U18s with a hat-trick as Neil Critchley's side defeated Blackburn Rovers 4-0 in their season-opener at the Academy.
The Canadian youth international displayed impressive composure in front of goal as the Reds got their campaign up and running with a comprehensive victory in the Kirkby sunshine on Monday.
Millar opened the scoring early on and then sealed the three points, as well as the match ball for himself, with a quickfire double around the hour mark, before Glen McAuley added further gloss to the scoreline with a late fourth.
Another Liverpool debutant, goalkeeper Ben Williams, was called on to make several excellent saves throughout an entertaining contest, but the Reds - boosted by the returns of Bobby Adekanye and Toni Gomes - deserved the win ahead of trips to face both Manchester clubs in their next two Premier League games.
Boss Critchley was satisfied to get the season off to a winning start, but also insisted his side were not at their best.
"Scoring four goals and keeping a clean sheet - there were some real positives, no doubt about that, but we can play better than that, especially in terms of how we kept the ball and passed the ball," he told Liverpoolfc.com.
On Millar, who joined Liverpool from Fulham this summer, Critchley added: "He’s a very good finisher, we’ve seen that in training. We’re delighted we’ve got him, he’s been a joy to work with since he’s been here."
Both teams showed their attacking intent in a high-tempo start to the match, but it was Liverpool who took an early lead courtesy of Millar’s calm, left-footed finish across Blackburn goalkeeper Matthew Campbell.
The Reds had their stopper Williams to thank for keeping their advantage intact when he made a superb double save soon after, before his Rovers namesake Benjamin Williams hit the side-netting as the visitors pushed for an equaliser.
Gomes thought he had made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark, only for the assistant referee’s flag to deny the Liverpool striker after he poked home from close range.
Blackburn began the second half on the front foot and Frank Jones had a goal disallowed for offside before Williams made a smart save from his namesake’s stinging left-footed drive from 20 yards.
But Millar was on hand to complete his treble and ensure the victory, with the forward first converting Herbie Kane’s excellent cross from close range before then rounding off a sharp Liverpool counter-attack with another cool finish.
And substitute McAuley then completed the Reds’ victory with a fourth in stoppage-time.