Reading's under-18s slipped to a narrow defeat against a hugely experienced Liverpool side at Hogwood Park on Saturday, the Reds including first team striker Jerome Sinclair and Wales' youngest ever international Harry Wilson in their starting eleven.
The game began at a blistering pace, both teams looking to take the early advantage.
And it was Liverpool who struck first. A floated cross from the left was met by the head of Reds' high-profile right-winger Harry Wilson who got enough on his header to loop it back across keeper Dan Lincoln and inside the left upright from close range.
But as recent results against Arsenal and Everton have shown, Reading's youngsters do not let their heads drop, and only minutes later they were level. Nana Owusu won a corner on the right and the ball was nodded down into the six yard box. Sammi Fridjonsson gambled and was there to brilliantly poke past the onrushing keeper to make it 1-1.
The Royals' joy was short-lived though. Skipper Dom Hyam tangled with Jerome Sinclair as he sped towards goal and, as the last man back, the centre-half was shown a red card and Reading were down to ten men after only a quarter of an hour.
Reading rallied and Tariqe Fosu came close with a free kick that whistled inches over the crossbar, but Sinclair tried a dinked effort on the half hour which beat Lincoln and struck the stanchion as Liverpool looked to press home their numerical advantage.
It was Reading who took the lead for the first time when Bogdan Vastsuk fed Fosu, who switched the ball effortlessly onto his left boot and absolutely hammered a well-struck effort through keeper Crump who couldn't get anything behind it.
Before the break however, Liverpool were level and the impressive Wilson was the scorer once more, the midfielder bursting onto a ball over the top, bringing it down well and sliding a right-footed effort past Lincoln from a tight angle.
The lively Fosu still had time to force a superb save from Crump at his near post, but the teams went in level at the break.
Only a minute into the second period and Liverpool retook the lead. Sinclair twisted and turned in the area and tripped over a stray Fridjonsson leg. The referee pointed to the spot, despite protests from the Reading players and Sinclair hammered home to make it 3-2.
But the Royals kept running, tirelessly closing Liverpool down and keeping the game tight despite playing with only ten men for the vast majority of the game.
Fosu forced Crump into a tidy near post save on the hour and David Dodds introduced Shpat Ismajli and Jack Jeffrey with 20 minutes to go, much-needed fresh legs for the final stages.
And Ismajli almost nicked a late equaliser, skipping past three Liverpool defenders and into the box but stabbing his left-footed effort just over the bar.
But substitute Alex O'Hanlon ended Reading's stout resistance with a fourth in injury time, stabbing into the bottom right corner to seal the three points.
Reading: Lincoln, Owusu, McLennan, Dickie, Hyam (c), Shaughnessy, Fridjonsson, Husin (Jeffrey 71), Fosu, Vastsuk, Cardwell (Ismajli 71).
Subs: Jules, Collins, Taylor-Crossdale.
Liverpool: Crump, Randall, Maguire, Cleary, Williams, Chirivella, Wilson (Burke 76), Phillips, Sinclair, Smith, Ojo (O'Hanlon 84).
Subs: Jackson, Roberts, Hart.