Liverpool U18s boss Barry Lewtas reserved special praise for Layton Stewart and Remi Savage after they played key roles in the 4-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday.

Stewart netted a hat-trick to take his tally to 16 goals for the season, following Tom Hill's opener in Kirkby, while Savage was a solid figure at the heart of the defence.

The victory saw Lewtas' charges move to three points behind leaders Manchester City in the U18 Premier League North, with a game in hand.

Read Lewtas' thoughts on a pleasing afternoon for his team below…

On the overall performance…

It was a tough game. I know their league position might suggest they have had some tough times but some of the games they have been involved in recently have been really close and we said that to the boys before the game. They were well organised and there was a little spell in the first half when we put ourselves under a bit of pressure. There is loads to still work on but a real positive performance.

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On another goal for first-year scholar Hill to take his tally to eight for the season so far…

We had a little joke with him the other day that he hadn't scored in 2020! He'll be made up with that one. It was a lovely strike, he picks up second balls really well and gets in the box. He presses well and he works hard and sometimes he picks up the ball in space to shoot.

On a special day for Stewart, who combined nicely with strike partner Fidel O'Rourke…

The front two lead the line really well for us and they run in behind. I said to Layton after the game, I thought the boys did their best to get him a hat-trick before he got it. I thought we were a constant threat in behind them and that allowed Tom, James Balagizi and James Norris to back up the attack really well. It's great for Layton and I'm sure he will go in and thank the lads for the assists.

On Stewart's outstanding third goal…

We were winding him up saying it was a cross! To be fair, he had one thing on his mind and he shaped it up really nicely. I was quite pleased actually with the amount of good positions he got himself into to score goals. I was really pleased with Layton.

On centre-half Savage stepping up to lead the backline in the absence of the injured Billy Koumetio…

I thought Remi was excellent. Layton will grab the headlines and rightly so, but I thought the way Remi headed the ball and marshalled the backline was brilliant. They went direct and it was tough but Remi stood up to it. He allows us to play from the back and that was a really good day for him.

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