Jurgen Klopp praises 'exceptional' Salah and Mane
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Liverpool’s assistant manager Pep Lijnders has revealed that he called Jurgen Klopp during pre-season to rave about exciting 16-year-old winger Kaide Gordon. The academy talent could be in line for a debut when the Reds visit Norwich City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Gordon spent the majority of Liverpool’s preparation for the 2021-22 campaign with the first team and scored in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Premier League rivals Aston Villa.
Liverpool made the most of Derby County’s financial struggles to take Gordon to Anfield in February. They paid an initial £1million but it is a deal that could rise to around £4m.
Gordon made his senior debut for Derby in December. Wayne Rooney put him on for the final few minutes in a 4-0 victory over Birmingham City.
The Derbyshire-born youngster has impressed for Liverpool’s under-18 and under-23 sides. It was while training with the latter that he was noticed by Lijnders.
The Dutchman has opened up about the phone conversation he shared with Klopp after seeing Gordon play for the first time.
“About Kaide, before pre-season we always make sure that our biggest talents start a week earlier than we start,” Lijnders told reporters about Gordon, who turns 17 next month.
“They start with the under-23s training and I went to the under-23s training ground to watch and I see one player and he has fire in each moment he touched the ball.
“He passes players like they are not standing there so I call Jurgen like: ‘Wow, we have a new player here.’
“We take all these young players to pre-season and you know you have a good player around you is when the senior players start taking care of this young player.
“When you see James Milner speaking with Kaide. When you see Trent becoming a proper mentor. When you see them invite him to sit on the table.
“All our boys in our group invited him and it made it, not easier, but good for him to adapt to our team and to our style.”
He continued: “What you see a lot with these kind of wingers, they can now play, they can combine.
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“He is a typical Liverpool Football Club winger in my opinion because he has goals, he has speed. We really like him and we’re really happy he’s with us.”
Gordon could make his competitive debut for Liverpool in their League Cup tie against Norwich on Tuesday.
Klopp is expected to name an inexperienced side, with Lijnders revealing that Curtis Jones is set to start for the Reds.
“I want to give one name who is going to start tomorrow, and that’s Curtis Jones. Why I want to say his name is because he will play his 50th game tomorrow and it all started with these kind of games.
“Our Champions League group, everybody was saying what a strong group, the group of death, it’s so difficult, those kind of things.
“I was only thinking: ‘Wow we have six top games’, and when you come from an academy or development background, you know how important it is to have top games to develop.”
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