A Danny Ings double wasn’t enough as Liverpool under-23s lost a seven-goal thriller against Stoke City.
Neil Critchley’s side were beaten 4-3 by the Potters in a Premier League Cup clash at Chester City’s Swansway Chester Stadium.
Liverpool were never ahead during the match in which Lloyd Jones also found the target for the home side.
Stoke were in front on five minutes. Cameron Brannagan allowed Tyrese Campbell, son of former Everton and Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell, to fire a shot that was saved by Reds goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, only for Belgian youngster Julien Ngoy to slot home the rebound.
Liverpool drew level from a corner. Harry Wilson’s delivery was met by a thunderous header from Jones which flew past Stoke keeper Daniel Gyollai.
The Hungarian then produced a great double save to deny Rhian Brewster and Ings, which gained greater importance when Stoke countered to regain the lead, Campbell marauding down the left flank before firing in an effort which crept past Kelleher.
And it was 3-1 shortly before the break, Daniel Jarvis laying off to the edge of the box for Oliver Shenton, whose effort drifted into the top right of the goal.
Early in the second half, Liverpool reduced the deficit.
After Brewster was shoved over by Stoke midfielder Jake Dunwoody, Wilson’s spot kick was saved but Ings converted the rebound.
But 10 minutes later, Daniel Jarvis and Ngoy combined on the edge of the area before the former rolled a shot in to the bottom left corner.
Liverpool continued to press and after Brewster forced a diving save from the Stoke keeper Gyollai, Wilson fired in a shot that was saved on to the post.
Liverpool were awarded a second penalty in injury time after Wilson was brought down, and Ings – who scored four goals in the 7-0 hammering of Bristol City in the Reds’ last Premier League Cup tie – made no mistake.
Critchley’s side are now in second place in Group G. They are next in action on Sunday at Sunderland in Premier League 2.
LIVERPOOL UNDER-23s: Kelleher, Whelan, Johnston (Dhanda 72), Lloyd-Jones, Masterson (Garcia 72), Brannagan, Kane, Ejaria (Alves 75), Ings, Wilson, Brewster.