Divock Origi featured for just over an hour as Liverpool U21s suffered a 2-0 defeat against Sunderland on Sunday afternoon.

After a largely uneventful first half at Lookers Vauxhall Stadium, strikes by Mikael Mandron and Carl Lawson in the second period gave the Black Cats victory.

Michael Beale named an exciting line-up including Origi up front, with the Belgium international keen to build up more fitness on a free weekend for the first team.

Lloyd Jones was in the starting XI as the defender makes his own comeback from injury and a host of players now with senior experience returned to U21 level for a runout.

The opening glimpses of goal for the Reds came from free-kick situations, Joao Carlos Teixeira and Ryan Kent taking turns to send efforts off target from the edge of the box.

In fact, much the better chances were forged by the visitors.

Both involved George Honeyman, firstly after the Sunderland No.10 completed an intricate one-two 20 yards from goal and struck a side-footer that was straight at Danny Ward.

Next he troubled Joe Maguire underneath a bouncing ball and broke free in behind, only to miscue his finish and find the stand instead of either corner open in front of him.

At the other end, Teixeira went close on 19 minutes when he stepped infield from the left flank and aimed for the far corner. A deflection made it difficult for goalkeeper James Talbot but he nevertheless saved well.

The away side emerged with greater intent after half-time – Rees Greenwood suddenly dictating the play – and produced a breakthrough with 53 minutes on the clock.

His delivery into the area from the left was forced home by Mandron yards out for the opener, despite Ward’s vociferous claims to the referee that a hand had been used.

Greenwood threatened a second when he dispatched a left-footer from the right channel towards the bottom corner but Jones crucially got his body in the way of the shot.

Origi was withdrawn for Jerome Sinclair just past the hour mark and Sunderland soon doubled their advantage with a well-worked goal in the 67th minute.

The assist came from Greenwood again, switching the ball from left to right to Lawson, who composed himself and drove across Ward to secure the points for his side.

Liverpool U21s: Ward, Randall, Smith (Hart), Jones (Brewitt), Maguire, Chirivella, Ojo, Brannagan, Origi (Sinclair), Teixeira, Kent. Unused substitutes: O'Hanlon, Firth.