Liverpool suffered defeat in their first NextGen fixture of the 2012/13 season, falling to a credible 3-2 scoreline against last season’s tournament winners Inter Milan.
Kicking off their campaign at the picturesque Centro Sportivo Giacinto Facchetti, Liverpool named, even by NextGen standards, a young side featuring the highly rated Jerome Sinclair.
The 15 year-olds inclusion, a result of losing Connor Coady, Andre Wisdom, Suso and new signing Samed Yesil to the senior squad for the Europa League tie against Young Boys Bern, is testament to the faith that the academy staff have in the young striker.
Inter started aggressively, looking to exploit their significant size advantage over the Reds, but whatever Rodolfo Borrell's side might have lacked in stature they more than made up for in determination refusing to be intimated by the Nerazzurri's physical superiority.
Having weathered a frantic opening quarter of an hour Liverpool were unfortunate to fall behind in the 16th minute, Lloyd Jones losing the flight of a long ball from Alfred Duncan to allow Francesco Forte to steal in and give Inter the lead.
Liverpool responded well and equalised from the penalty spot, Krisztian Adorjan firing low past Raffaele Dalle Vedove after Jerome Sinclair had been brought down by Simone Pasa after being played in by the goalscorer Adorjan.
The Reds, buoyed by the equaliser further pressed the hosts and began to exert some authority of their own only to fall behind five minutes before the break, Niccolo Belloni breaking down the left to cross for Forte to tap in his second of the game to give the hosts a half-time lead.
Forte should have completed his hat-trick ten minutes into the second half, blasting wide from point blank range after an intricate free kick from the imposing Inter Primavera midfielder Duncan.
Inter continued to look dangerous on the break and only an excellent last ditch clearance from Lloyd Jones prevented what would have been an easy tap in for the lurking Forte.
Liverpool hit-back and had two chances in as many minutes to level the scoreline. The impressive Sinclair forced a fine near post save from Dalle Vedove, moments later the 15 year-old was again involved, just failing to connect with a fine cross from Jordan Ibe.
Despite giving a great account of themselves, Liverpool fell further behind on 81 minutes, Luca Garritano firing past Tyrell Belford from an acute angle having been put through courtesy of an excellent pass down the inside right channel from the excellent Duncan.
Liverpool gave themselves late hope of grabbing something from the game, Adorjan curling a sublime free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards with 88 minutes on the clock, but were unable to find the equaliser their performance deserved.
Inter’s mature performance leaves them in a strong position at the top of one of the toughest groups of the tournament.