Daniel Trickett-Smith's stunning late goal capped off an impressive Liverpool U18s display as the Reds eased to a resounding 4-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday.
Skipper Jordan Rossiter opened the scoring just inside the half-hour mark at the Academy before Jordan Blinco brought the visitors back on terms.
This drew a devastating reaction from Liverpool - who rested several players ahead of a big week - as a ferocious strike from close range by Jerome Sinclair put the Reds back into the lead before a low strike from Cameron Brannagan helped to condemn Sunderland just before the break.
Trickett-Smith's unstoppable strike in the dying moments of the game ensured full-backs Corey Whelan and Sam Hart had debuts to remember.
Liverpool looked to stamp authority in the early stages and forced Sunderland goalkeeper Peter Burke into making two saves inside the first 10 minutes.
Seyi Ojo fashioned an opportunity after the winger created space for himself when coming inside from the left flank. Ojo fired a shot that deflected towards the corner of the goal but was foiled by the outstretched arm of Burke.
Shortly after, Sinclair received the ball 30 yards from goal and instinctively turned and curled an audacious effort that Burke leapt across to tip wide.
Nine minutes later, Liverpool created their clearest chance of the opening 20 minutes after some composed play from Sinclair. The striker showed great awareness to slide a defence-splitting pass through to Trickett-Smith, the frontman's shot was destined for the corner but it was blocked by the trailing foot of Burke.
The Reds' constant pressing eventually paid dividends as they broke the deadlock in the 28th minute.
A scramble for possession in the box ensued after Sunderland failed to deal with Ryan Kent's corner and Rossiter swiftly seized the opportunity to tuck the ball into the net at the back post.
Against the run of play, the visitors managed to level the scoring in the 36th minute. Tom Robson's lofted pass was just beyond the Reds' backline and found the onrushing Blinco, who calmly slotted past Ryan Fulton.
Sunderland's goal only temporarily altered the complexion of the game before Sinclair restored Liverpool's lead just two minutes later.
Yet another troublesome corner from Kent caused havoc in Sunderland's area, the ball ricocheted between players in the box before Sinclair ruthlessly drilled a shot crashing into the roof the net.
This was the catalyst for a series of attempts on goal as half-time approached, one of which found the net to increase Liverpool's lead.
After palming Ojo's rasping drive from an acute angle over the crossbar, Burke was called into action again to prevent Sinclair from doubling his tally when the striker side-footed a shot at goal.
Fortunately for Liverpool, the Irishman was helpless to stop Brannagan from adding a third for the Reds in the closing stages of the first half. Ojo surged down the left wing before pulling it back to the midfielder who steered a left-footed shot beyond the reach of Burke and into the back of the net.
After the break, Sunderland substitute Dan Wright entered the fray and wasted a glorious opportunity seven minutes into the second half. Full-back Steven McCarthy burst down the right flank before spraying the ball across to the midfielder; Wright rushed his effort and dragged his tame shot wide.
Just before the hour mark, Trickett-Smith presented Sinclair with an opportunity reminiscent of the chance that the former nearly scored from in the first half. Sinclair received the accurate pass from his strike partner before rounding Burke and chipping a shot that was glanced onto the post by the retreating Sunderland defence.
As the match entered the last half an hour, Sunderland's desperate need for a goal intensified.
The visitors won a free-kick on the edge of the area but failed to take advantage as Fulton comfortably dived down to smother Tom Brewitt's set-piece.
As Sunderland's hopes of stealing a share of the spoils drained, Trickett-Smith confirmed the win for the Reds with just a few minutes remaining. The striker received possession 25 yards from goal before immediately turning and firing a well-struck shot that soared into the corner of the net, making it an afternoon to remember for the young side.