A number of Liverpool youngsters impressed the media during the Reds’ 4-1 win over Shrewsbury, not least goalscorer Kaide Gordon.
Having fallen behind in the first half, Liverpool took charge after Gordon fired home his first-ever senior goal for the club.
Here’s a look at how the media reacted to Liverpool’s victory.
There was understandable focus on Gordon, on a memorable afternoon for the 17-year-old…
Bascombe believes the teenager’s goal could be the first of many for Liverpool:
“Compile a list of Liverpool’s youngest goalscorers and it is an assortment of the legendary, the great and forgotten.
“On one hand of the scale you have Michael Owen, Raheem Sterling and, for the older generation, Jimmy Melia. On the other the prospects who never quite fulfilled the excitement of their early promise such as Ben Woodburn and Jordan Rossiter.
“It remains to be seen where Kaide Gordon will sit in the rankings over the course of this decade, but it’s fair to say it will be a surprise if his first senior goal in front of the Kop is his last.
“At 17 years and 96 days Gordon eclipsed Owen to become the second youngest on the list of goalscoring Anfield prodigies.”
The Daily Mail‘s Riath Al-Samarrai enjoyed the link-up between Gordon and Conor Badley for the goal:
“For Liverpool, there isn’t much to shout about from a win over the 15th-placed side in League One, but out of a heavily-rotated side Klopp will have mined some encouraging information.
“Most of it will centre on their equalising goal, which was built in their academy, with the assist coming from Conor Bradley, 18, and a fine finish from Gordon, 17. Combined they are younger than James Milner; in isolation, Gordon is the second youngest scorer in Liverpool’s history.”
This Is Anfield felt it was further vindication for the Reds’ promotion of youth:
“Liverpool’s opening goal involved three of the academy players chosen in this young side. Elijah Dixon-Bonner turned the ball out to Conor Bradley who crossed for Gordon.
“The 17-year-old’s finished was as technically good as it was composed, as he worked the ball onto his left foot and slotted home.
“Gordon looked dangerous every time he cut in from the right onto his left foot, and technically he already looks at home at this level.
“Klopp’s use of Harvey Elliott at the start of this season showed he is not afraid of bringing young players through if they are good enough, and Gordon could well get more game time next season if not this.”
It wasn’t vintage Liverpool, but they got the job done in solid fashion…
Al-Samarrai found it a difficult game to assess, claiming the Reds’ performance was somewhere between good and bad:
“For seven minutes the grand heist was on and for another 10 this game was even. Let’s call that the age of innocence before Liverpool found sufficient holes in a yellow wall to kill an unlikely tale.
“They weren’t especially brilliant in doing so, and nor were they poor. But it was a dominant performance wrapped in a feeling that it was occasionally too much of a slog for those given a game by Jurgen Klopp.
“But 4-1 is probably misleading, both in the sense that it was only 2-1 until the 78th minute, and also because it might have been an awful lot more, given Liverpool had 83 per cent of possession. Better teams have spent far less time chasing Liverpool and taken far bigger beatings, so that is a testament of sorts to the work Shrewsbury did in the frenzied, prolonged defence of their penalty area.”
The Independent‘s Richard Jolly doesn’t think a number of absences helped matters, but returning heroes were a positive for Klopp:
“Shrewsbury were aggrieved they faced a youthful Liverpool team in 2020 when Klopp took the senior side on a winter break. This time other reasons accounted for the presence of six starters aged 20 or under.
“Their absentees numbered in double figures, with a combination of Covid, Afcon and injuries. That the missing senior figures also included Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“Neco Williams and Joe Gomez helped explain why Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal was postponed. With Takumi Minamino and Firmino making their returns as substitutes and the Brazilian latching on to Ibrahima Konate’s scuffed shot to backheel in Liverpool’s third goal, their problems may be easing.”
The Liverpool Echo‘s Paul Gorst was more impressed than others, given the issues in the last week:
“After all the confusion surrounding the makeup of the team, Klopp, who was cleared to return to the dugout, was at least able to name a strong spine to a side that was decorated with youngsters eager to impress.
“And impress they did after they responded to a setback to secure an ultimately comfortable 4-1 victory.
“‘Bizarre,’ was how assistant boss Peter Krawietz described the week Liverpool have just had, but it is at least one that has not derailed any plans.”
Some assessed a new-look Liverpool attack…
“Curtis Jones has a proud history in the FA Cup, having scored a spectacular winner for Liverpool against Everton in front of the Kop, but it’s very much a sign of his progress in recent years that he returned to action as an important member of the first-team squad.
“Having been out injured since the end of October, the 20-year-old returned to the starting team at an important time, with Liverpool’s options set be stretched over the coming weeks.
“It was interesting, therefore, to see him start on the left of Liverpool’s front three, before filling back into midfield in the second half. With Salah and Sadio Mane at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool are desperately short of attackers and it was notable that Jones was considered, albeit briefly, as an option.
“This was a good outing for Jones, who understandably showed plenty of rust on his first appearance in over two months.”
Finally, TIA believe there will be chances for many to stake a claim throughout January:
“The focus will be on Liverpool’s front three more so than usual during the next few months.
“Minamino replaced Woltman at half-time and will be another option, but in the end the most clinical of the players used against Shrewsbury was Gordon.
“The ‘first choice’ front three remains to be seen, though it should be seen in the Premier League games against Brentford and Crystal Palace, if not in the two-legged League Cup semi-final with Arsenal.”