GRÖDIG, AUSTRIA - Friday, July 23, 2021: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and FSV Mainz 05 at the Greisbergers Betten-Arena. (Pic by Jürgen Faichter/Propaganda)

Kaide Gordon has been “pencilled in” for Liverpool debut this season

It is claimed that one of the reasons Liverpool were willing to sanction Xherdan Shaqiri‘s move to Lyon is due to Kaide Gordon being “pencilled in” for a senior berth.

Shaqiri is to join Ligue 1 side Lyon in a deal worth £9.5 million, with the two clubs reaching an agreement on Sunday evening.

The No. 23 departs having made only seven starts last season and was left out of the matchday squad for both of the Reds’ Premier League wins over Norwich and Burnley, with Jurgen Klopp benefiting from a strong group of players.

Harvey Elliott made his first Premier League start last time out against Burnley and excelled, with the 18-year-old operating in an advanced role on the right-hand side of midfield.

This saw Elliott occupy positions similar to that taken up by Shaqiri whenever he was fielded in midfield or on the wing, with the youngster’s creativity and eye for goal comparable to the Swiss.

According to the Times‘ Paul Joyce, the emergence of Elliott is “one of the reasons” why Liverpool were prepared to sanction Shaqiri’s sale, after the 29-year-old requested a move away this summer.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates with team-mate Harvey Elliott (C) after scoring a second goal, but it was disallowed following a VAR review, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Athletic‘s James Pearce adds that “senior Anfield sources insist they have been planning for Shaqiri’s exit for the past 12 months.”

Elliott spent last season on loan at Blackburn to prepare him for an increased role, while interestingly, the club have also fast-tracked the progress of 16-year-old right winger Gordon.

Gordon made five appearances for the senior squad throughout pre-season, and Pearce has claimed on Twitter that he has been “pencilled in” for minutes in the FA Cup and League Cup this campaign.

Liverpool will enter the League Cup at the third-round stage which will take place on the week commencing September 20, while the same stage of the FA Cup is to be held on the weekend of January 8/9.

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 25, 2019: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott applauds the travelling supporters after the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between MK Dons FC and Liverpool FC at Stadium MK. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The League Cup is where Elliott made his debut for the Reds back in 2019, earning the Man of the Match award in the 2-0 victory at MK Dons when he was 16 years, five months and 21 days old.

Gordon, meanwhile, will turn 17 in a month-and-a-half, and could seemingly follow a similar trajectory to Elliott in terms of working his way up to the senior squad.

Much will depend on the cup opposition, but there is a clear belief among coaches at Kirkby that the £3 million winter signing is capable of stepping up.

Whether Gordon should be held up as a genuine option to replace Shaqiri at his age is debatable, however, with those in the media holding a responsibility not to overhype the player before he is ready to perform.