It has been a year of highs and lows for Kaide Gordon, and despite persistent injuries keeping him from involvement he is still part of the first-team squad.
While 2022 has been the year in which Gordon made history, netting against Shrewsbury to become the club’s youngest-ever FA Cup goalscorer and second-youngest in all competitions, it has been stop-start since.
Three of his four first-team appearances came in January, but the last time he has been involved at senior level was as an unused substitute in the 3-1 win over Cardiff on February 6.
In fact, his last outing at any level came the day after, in a 3-0 loss to Leeds under-23s, with the teenager then sitting out of the rest of the campaign.
It was claimed in March that Gordon had suffered a “little injury” and it was “nothing serious,” but those minor issues have stacked up in the ensuing months.
Gordon returned to the AXA Training Centre at the beginning of June, following a brief holiday, and over a month later he is still undergoing rehabilitation, unable to travel for the pre-season tour of Asia.
Joe Gomez has now recovered from a small problem, while Tom Hill and Melkamu Frauendorf are not expected to be out for the long term.
But working with those high-profile names as he edges closer to fitness will be a boost for Gordon in itself, with the gesture of remaining with the first team rather than the under-21s a symbolic one.
In May, it was revealed that Liverpool had reached a deal with the cash-strapped Derby to buy out one of the clauses in their deal for Gordon, paying £500,000 to remove a 20 percent sell-on obligation.
Whether the youngster will be available before the end of pre-season remains to be seen, though there is a chance he travels with the squad to Germany and Austria.