Harry Wilson scored a brace as Liverpool U23s beat Arsenal 3-2 in their Premier League 2 clash at Anfield on Monday evening.
The Welshman, 19, opened the scoring in the second minute before Stephy Mavididi equalised just three minutes later.
The Reds’ captain restored his side’s lead in the 13th minute before Sheyi Ojo scored his first goal since his injury return, but there was still time for Mavididi to add a second for his side.
In their first game since the departure of Head Coach Michael Beale, Liverpool made four changes from their 1-1 draw against West Brom, with Shamal George making his Anfield debut for the Reds.
Joe Gomez returned to the side whilst Kevin Stewart and Brooks Lennon also came in as Kamil Grabara, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn all made way, with the latter three on the bench for the first-team’s 2-2 draw at home to West Ham just 24 hours before.
It was the hosts who started brightly at Anfield, and within the opening two minutes, they were ahead.
Tiago Ilori’s long ball over the Arsenal defence allowed Wilson to run onto the loose ball and produce a neat chip over the onrushing for his 12th goal of the season.
However, just moments later, a mistake on the ball from Stewart allowed Gunners midfielder Mavididi to finish a fine counter-attacking move and draw the game level.
The end-to-end action continued in the just eight minutes later, when Cameron Brannagan was bundled over inside the penalty area after Joe Maguire’s cross caused problems for the defence.
The Wales U21 winger Wilson stepped up and fired into the right corner to put his side back in front, with his 13th goal in 21 starts this season.
Arsenal again fought back, and there was almost a sense of de-ja-vu, but Reiss Nelson’s effort was booted away by George who looked comfortable in just his second U23s start.
That was a pivotal moment in the game as Liverpool extended their lead with a fine individual goal from Ojo.
The winger, who completed another 90 minutes in his bid to return to full fitness, latched onto Pedro Chirivella’s pass and beat his marker before finishing in front of the Anfield Road End.
Liverpool brought on Corey Whelan at half-time, whilst Jordan Williams and Matty Virtue also came into the Reds midfield to replace Stewart and Chirivella in front of the back four.
Arsenal took advantage of the newly-formed midfield pairing when Arsenal again counter-attacked, with Nelson setting up Mavididi for his and Arsenal’s second.
A mouthwatering finish followed as Arsenal bombarded the Reds goal, with George producing a fine close-range save from Eddie Nketiah as Liverpool ended 2016 on a positive note with a victory.
The Reds next turn their attention to a friendly with National League side Chester on 21 December at the Deva Stadium. Kick-Off is at 1pm.
Liverpool U23s: George; Gomez (Whelan 45’), Ilori, Sakho, Maguire; Stewart (Williams), Chirivella (Virtue); Wilson, Brannagan, Ojo; Lennon.