The Liverpool U23s started pre-season with a 5-1 win over Warrington Rylands FC on Wednesday. Jack Bearne returned from injury and scored a brace.
Bearne was an integral part of Barry Lewtas’ U23 squad last season, scoring three goals in 13 games and preparing another three, but an ankle injury ended his season prematurely.
“This is the second operation I’ve had on that particular ankle, which is very frustrating,” said the 19-year-old after his ligament injury.
“But it only drives me to come back stronger than ever and give everything in my rehab to do my best!”
The 150,000-pound newcomer from Notts County has spent the last five months working on his return to full fitness and was given a chance to show his progress when the U23s welcomed Rylands to Kirkby.
It took Bearne just five minutes to score, scoring from the point before doubling his record in a game over two 30-minute halves shortly afterwards.
Center-back Lee Jonas, promoted from the U18s in the absence of Billy Koumetio, added another cross from James Norris before more goals were scored by Tom Clayton and Max Woltman.
Woltman’s goal came after a breathtaking end to the season with the U18s, with the 17-year-old scoring 12 goals and preparing nine in 30 games for the academy, with no more young players contributing.
Lewtas will likely seek out a host of U18 graduates as part of its roster for the new season. In preparation, he has the opportunity to test a number of players.
The U23s face Welsh Caernarfon Town in another friendly next Wednesday, while they are expected to face Newcastle on August 8th.
Meanwhile, Oakley Cannonier returned injured when an U18 side made up of many of Jonathan Robinson’s U16 squad beat Birmingham 2-0 in another friendly in Kirkby.
Cannonier recently signed his first professional contract with the club, with Melkamu Frauendorf, Mateusz Musialowski, Fabian Mrozek, Lee Chambers and Harvey Davies also agreeing the terms.