Jurgen Klopp has revealed Kaide Gordon had barely trained prior to his goalscoring display against Shrewsbury, with only “two or three” sessions due to COVID-19.
Preparations for the Reds’ FA Cup third-round tie were blighted by a series of positive Covid tests that forced the club to close their training ground in Kirkby.
It has since transpired that Trent Alexander-Arnold was the only player to follow up his lateral flow test with a positive PCR, though a host of others were isolating in the weeks previous.
One of those, it turns out, was Gordon, who was back for his first appearance at any level since December 11 as he took his place on the right wing at Anfield.
The 17-year-old played 80 minutes and, in netting the leveller in an eventual 4-1 victory, became the club’s second-youngest ever goalscorer and the youngest Liverpool player to score in the FA Cup.
“That’s Kaide. In these situations, he’s really calm,” Klopp reflected on his goal.
“I will not say that for the rest of career he’ll always score in these situations, but I’m pretty sure [he will] more often than not!
“Because that’s just him, when a cross comes from the left side, you will find him in the box. He’s good there as well – he has a nose for that, that’s really helpful.
“I know he’s the second-youngest goalscorer for Liverpool, which is absolutely exceptional, but there’s a way to go.
“No problem, Kaide has time, we will give him time, he will have his minutes here and there, and if he’s working as hard as he has so far…
“Because not to forget, he only just came back from Covid as well. I think he had two or three proper sessions, that’s it.
“It’s really not easy then to show up in a game like this, but he did and all credit to him.”
Gordon was one of four teenagers to start on Sunday, along with right-back Conor Bradley, midfielder Tyler Morton and striker Max Woltman, with the latter one of two full debutants alongside Elijah Dixon-Bonner.
Though the right side of Bradley and Gordon was exposed as Shrewsbury opened the scoring through Daniel Udoh, they recovered and combined for the equaliser soon after.
“I am delighted, even though I know they can both do so much better,” Klopp said of their display.
“Because they are real talents, I’m really happy about that and I’m happy about a lot of things.
“Conor, how good he could be and can be in the future.
“Kaide, finishing-wise he’s an adult, his finishing is really exceptional. But all the rest, he’s still a kid.
“Playing the positive the way he plays, there’s so much to improve. But I’m really happy for how they contributed today.
“The first goal obviously was their goal, together with Elijah who should be happy as well today – especially when we moved him to the left wing, all of a sudden he felt free to go.
“So many nice little stories today. So…good!”