Harry Wilson scored his 25th goal of the season as Liverpool U23s beat Chelsea 2-0 in front of first-team manager Jurgen Klopp at Tranmere’s Prenton Park on Monday evening.
Wilson, 19, put Mike Garrity’s side ahead in the 22nd minute after the dangerous Trent Alexander-Arnold was brought down by Chelsea defender Ruben Sammut.
Alexander-Arnold then rounded off a superb individual performance 16 minutes from time with a dipping free-kick from 20 yards which flew into the bottom right corner.
U23s Head Coach Mike Garrity made three changes from the side that thrashed Reading on Monday evening, with Dejan Lovren continuing his comeback from injury by coming into the starting line-up.
There was an opportunity for Matthew Virtue, who replaced Ben Woodburn after his involvement in the first-team 24 hours before whilst there was a change in goal with Caoimhin Kelleher starting.
With an important FA Youth Cup semi-final on the horizon for the visitors, they were only able to field three substitutes, and the strength in depth was far superior for the hosts.
Harry Wilson went closest for Liverpool in the opening exchanges, but he volleyed wide after a neat move with Virtue.
However, it was all one-way traffic, and after Sheyi Ojo tested the Chelsea backline with a teasing ball, the hosts didn’t have to wait too long for the opener.
Grujic continually picked out Alexander-Arnold on the right wing, and the full-back showed just how confident he was in the final third with a burst of pace that was abruptly ended by Sammut in the penalty area.
As he had done so often this season, Wilson picked himself up to slot it under the body of Bradley Collins in the Chelsea goal to further strength the evidence that he deserves an opportunity with the first-team.
Alexander-Arnold showed what he could offer in the final third, something that has been missing with the first-team in recent weeks, but he also highlighted his defensive capabilities to stop a Chelsea counter-attack.
The England youth international then put in a pinpoint cross for Grujic, who’s flick-on was eventually cleared by the Chelsea defence, with Brewster unable to control the loose ball.
The Reds continued their dominance in the second period with former Chelsea forward Brewster heading just over after good work on the opposite flank from Ojo.
Liverpool then secured the three points in the 76th minute, when another full-back was bundled over and the Reds scored from the resulting set-piece, with Randall being fouled just outside the penalty area.
With Woodburn away with the first-team, Alexander-Arnold made the most of the opportunity to take free-kicks with one that curled over the wall and into the right corner, to cap off a fine performance.
There was nothing the full-back could do wrong as he went inches away from adding his second, but it was cleared from underneath the Chelsea crossbar.
The young Reds went even closer to a third when Wilson smashed the crossbar from close-range, but the damage was done, and Liverpool move to within six points of second-placed Man City and have a game in hand.
Next up for Garrity and his young side is a trip to the South Coast to play ninth-placed Southampton, and after this showing, he’ll do well to keep hold of Alexander-Arnold and Wilson for that fixture on 10 April.
Liverpool: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Lovren (Phillips 75’), Randall (Whelan 90’); Stewart, Virtue; Wilson, Grujic, Ojo; Brewster.