Sunderland under-23s lost 6-0 to an experienced Liverpool side in Group F of the Premier League Cup on Monday.
Liam Millar’s goal made it 1-0 at the break, but a dominant second-half display from the Reds took the game away from the Lads.
Tom Hardy added two in 10 minutes from the hour mark and then Curtis Jones grabbed a late hat-trick to take all three points at a blustery Liverpool Academy.
Elliott Dickman’s side lined up against an experienced Liverpool XI that included Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Pedro Chirivella.
Liverpool hit the front after just two minutes, when Millar latched onto Elliott’s through ball and slotted home.
The Reds then almost doubled their lead instantly when Curtis Jones found space inside the area and took aim, but Anthony Patterson got down quickly to make the block.
Sunderland’s best chance of the first-half came in the 28th minute when Ruben Sammut was tripped by Pedro Chirivella.
Jack Connolly stepped up to take the resulting set-piece, but fired it straight at Liverpool ‘keeper Vitezslav Jaros.
Just after the interval, Jones missed a glorious opportunity to double the Reds’ advantage when he miss-hit a close-range strike into the ground.
And in the 53rd minute the Liverpool skipper was almost made to pay for the miss, but Hugill sent a free header straight at the keeper.
Two goals in 10 minutes from Hardy just after the hour mark quickly took the game away from Sunderland though.
The first, a quick turn and strike low into the bottom right corner, and the second, an acrobatic volley that flew past Patterson.
Jones then added two more with a pair of sublime strikes from distance that left Patterson with no chance.
Before adding a sixth deep into injury time when he prodded home, after good work from Millar down the left to deliver the cross.
Next up for the young Black Cats is a trip to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday in the Premier League Cup.
Liverpool U23s: Jaros, Williams, Gallacher, Hoever, Boyes, Chirivella, Elliott, Lewis, Hardy, Jones, Millar
Subs: Van Den Berg, Winterbottom, Bearne, Clarkson, Longstaff
Sunderland U23s: Patterson, Mumba, Gamble, Sammut, Taylor, Verstraaten, Leonard, Connolly, Hugill, Greenwood, Dunne
Subs: Evans, Abdelkader, Kokolo, Edmundsson