Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his young starlets following Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Norwich City in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup third round tie, describing 16-year-old Kaide Gordon as a ‘big talent.’
The teenager became one of the youngest players to ever play for the Reds, having arrived from Derby County earlier in the year. The winger was one of several academy prospects to take to the field against the Canaries, with the likes of Conor Bradley and Tyler Morton also impressing.
And Klopp hailed Gordon as a ‘big talent’ at the final whistle, and while the German admitted he was ‘really happy to have him around,’ the coach did warn that Liverpool would ‘treat him carefully’ and not rush him into the senior side.
“Yes, he’s good – that’s what it says about him,” Klopp said of Gordon. “He’s good. A lot of things to improve, a lot of things to settle, a lot of things to learn but there’s a lot of things already there. We are really happy to have him around and we will treat him carefully, let me say it like this.
“But I am really happy that he is here, he is a big talent. But Conor Bradley, the first Northern Irish player since 1954, if somebody would have told me that before then I would have brought him probably earlier! But he played a super game and Tyler really as well, I have to say.
“I am really happy for the boys. It was a big one for all three. The first thing Kaide said to me after the game, when I wanted to say ‘congratulations’, he said to me, ‘Thank you!’ I said, ‘Nothing to thank me for, you deserved it.’ All fine, these boys are good and thank God they are ours.”
The youngsters starred in the 3-0 win at Carrow Road, but it was the senior fringe players who separated the two teams, with Divock Origi finding the net, and Takumi Minamino bagging a brace.
Klopp was pleased by the Japanese star’s impact on the game, and hopes that his two goals will ‘help him and help us’.
“He is in a really good moment; I know he didn’t play too much, but in the wrong moment he was injured, coming back and stuff like this. It is sometimes not so easy, but he is a top character and he enjoyed the game tonight.
“That was important for him and important for us, so that will help him and will help us. He was in pre-season really good, then he started, then he got injured and now the rest of the season starts. Nobody needs to worry, Taki will be fine.”
Klopp also said he’s ‘not too concerned’ by the severity of Naby Keita’s injury, after the midfielder ‘kicked the grass’, and was substituted at half-time.
“Half-time we had to change and Naby had kicked the grass, a little… sort of thing, we are not too concerned but we had to change.”
The Liverpool boss offered an insight into Roberto Firmino’s return date from injury, revealing that the Brazilian is back in training with his teammates and is ‘not too far away’ from taking to the field again.
“Bobby trained yesterday, the first time, parts with the team, so it is not too far away when he will play again. We have already two midfielders out and we should make sure that number doesn’t get bigger.
“The start of the season so far was good for the whole squad, but it’s only the start and there is a lot more to come.”