By Scott Taylor
Liam Millar scored a hat-trick on his Liverpool U18s debut as they started their Premier League campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Blackburn Rovers at the Kirkby Academy. Millar, a Canadian youth international, opened the scoring before netting his and the Reds’ second on the half mark. The summer signing from Fulham sealed his hat-trick before another debutant, Glen McAuley, sealed all three points in stoppage time with his first goal since signing a scholarship.
The hosts made a bright start to the game, and it took Millar just four minutes to open his account for Liverpool as the striker, 16, fired past Matt Campbell.
Despite this early lead, it was goalkeeper Ben Williams that was in fine form to preserve the lead, with a string of fine saves.
Just three minutes after going ahead, Williams produced a superb double save on his debut for the U18s, denying a low effort before reaching to claw the ball away from the top corner of the net.
The visitors then went even closer when striker Benjamin Williams fired into the side netting, before Millar struck the post with a header that almost swung the momentum back into the hosts’ favour.
Williams then denied Williams early in the second half as Blackburn continued to test the Liverpool defence and find a way back into the game.
Liverpool regained a foothold in the tie when U16 defender Harvey Whtye found the returning Toni Gomes, who had his effort parried away by Campbell
However, Millar then netted two goals in four minutes around the hour mark to take the game beyond the reach of their opponents.
In the 57th minute, he latched onto an unselfish through ball from Herbie Kane before rounding the goalkeeper to complete a memorable debut.
Captain Conor Masterson and Gomes had even more chances to put the game further out of site, but both failed to convert their opportunities.
However, second-half substitute McAuley, who replaced Millar, put the icing on the Liverpool cake in stoppage-time when he added a fourth as Neil Critchley’s side started of the season with a resounding win.
Liverpool U18s: Williams; Whyte, Masterson, Parker, Lewis; Coyle, Kane; Adekanye (Hunter 77’), Millar (McAuley 73’), Dhanda (Brewster 61’); Gomes.