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Thiago starts and Kaide Gordon scores in secret Anfield friendly

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Having been left out of the Liverpool squad to play Norwich in the Premier League opener, Thiago and Jordan Henderson instead featured in a friendly at Anfield.

The Reds played out a 3-0 victory at Carrow Road on Saturday, with Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah getting the goals in a comprehensive result.

Beyond the three points, it was a productive evening as Jurgen Klopp was able to introduce Firmino and Fabinho from the bench as they continue to build up to full sharpness after a late return to pre-season.

Absent, though, were Thiago and Henderson, who only managed cameo appearances in the final pre-season friendly against Osasuna, with injury and an extended holiday ensuring late involvement respectively.

It was something of a surprise to see the midfield pair left off the teamsheet, particularly with Curtis Jones already ruled out due to concussion.

But it transpires that they were instead pencilled in to feature in a secret friendly at Anfield on Sunday, which saw Liverpool take on Aston Villa behind closed doors.

The Reds ran out 4-1 winners with Jones among the scorers having been passed fit to start, joined by Divock Origi, Neco Williams and, impressively, Kaide Gordon on the scoresheet.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is likely that many of those on the bench at Norwich were also involved, along with those left out entirely for the first-team win and the under-23s’ 0-0 draw with Man City.

That means Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Takumi Minamino, Ben Woodburn, Caoimhin Kelleher, Owen Beck, Conor Bradley, Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain could have played.

Thiago and Henderson both played 80 minutes, which would suggest that they are seen as close to starting in competitive games for Liverpool, though a wealth of options in midfield means Klopp can afford not to rush them.

Possible Liverpool XI vs. Aston Villa: Kelleher; N.Williams, Gomez, Konate, Beck; Henderson, Thiago, Jones; Gordon, Minamino, Origi

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