Liverpool U21s emerged 4-3 winners from a pulsating encounter against Middlesbrough at Victoria Park on Monday night.

Alex Inglethorpe's side controlled the first half and raced to a 3-0 lead within 25 minutes of the clash.

Craig Roddan hammered the Reds ahead, Joao Carlos Teixeira doubled their advantage and Jordan Rossiter netted his first goal for the U21s to seal a dominant first-half display.

However, the home side came out fighting after the interval and Jacob Butterfield smashed a fine 30-yard effort beyond Danny Ward to pull a goal back.

Teixeira restored Liverpool's three-goal lead moments later; however, Boro fought back into the tie thanks to strikes from Emmanuel Ledesma and Seb Hines.

It all started so positively for the young Reds. After just four minutes, they stole ahead when Roddan collected the ball on the edge of the box and arrowed it first time beyond Jayson Leutwiler.

Ibe carved the second with lightning pace after executing a slick step-over and powering past Birger Solberg Meling to cut the ball back to Teixeira, who rifled home for 2-0.

Minutes later a wonderful sweeping attack unlocked Boro for a third time. Brad Smith lashed across the face of goal, Ibe cleverly tucked the ball back inside to Rossiter and he finished calmly from close range.

Liverpool were in full control. Tiago Ilori and Lloyd Jones were composed at the heart of the Reds' defence - and they were flanked by the equally impressive Smith and Martin Kelly.

In front of them, Scouse duo, Rossiter and Roddan, dictated the pace of the game and they were precise and industrious throughout the opening 45 minutes.

Cameron Brannagan dropped off the frontman to link the play, while Teixeira looked lively and Ibe was simply unplayable down the right touchline.

However, the Reds were rocked by an early goal directly after the restart. Butterfield seized his chance, 30 seconds in, to swerve a left-footed rocket beyond Ward.

Liverpool hit back immediately when Ibe advanced and clipped a pass into Teixeira, who let fly with an emphatic strike that left Leutwiler no chance at his near post.

But it was raining goals in Hartlepool - and Boro promptly picked the ball up from the restart, broke down the field and Ledesma hammered a sensational dipping shot past Ward to make it 4-2.

The Argentine then turned provider as he spotted the ball out on the right flank and sailed a dangerous free-kick into the penalty area, which Hines rose to nod home.

However, despite their best efforts, the home side were unable to find a fourth and Liverpool held out to clinch a memorable victory.

Liverpool U21s: Ward, Kelly, Smith, Jones, Ilori, Roddan, Ibe, Rossiter, Ngoo (Dunn), Brannagan, Teixeira (McLaughlin).