Barry Lewtas has stressed the need for Liverpool to be ‘careful’ with Kaide Gordon following his return to action over the weekend.
The 19-year-old had been sidelined with an ankle injury in recent weeks but came off the bench in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Benfica for the Reds’ under-21 side in the Premier League International Cup.
Speaking to the official LFC website afterwards, the coach said of the teenager’s substitute appearance: “That’s a big thing for us as well as Kaide. He has had a little bit of a niggle really, an ankle roll, a football injury, so he was itching to get back.
“He wanted to play 90 minutes but we’ve just got to be careful. I thought he looked strong, he was aggressive, and the more game time we can get him, the better.”
Lewtas is exactly right to be pleading caution over Gordon’s return from injury, with a pelvic problem keeping him out of action for a year-and-a-half before he featured for the under-21s against Middlesbrough in early September (Liverpool Echo).
That was his only involvement until his appearance against Benfica yesterday (Transfermarkt), so it’s natural that he’ll take time to get fully up to speed after being sidelined for so long.
The 19-year-old will obviously be itching to make up for lost time, but the Reds’ coaching staff can’t take chances with his fitness. Instead, we’re likely to see his minutes being gently increased before he’s primed for a sustained run of starts.
Gordon has already played four times for Liverpool’s first team (Transfermarkt) and became the club’s second-youngest scorer of all time when netting against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup in January 2022 (The Guardian).
Also, he was talked up considerably by his former Derby boss Wayne Rooney in the past, with the now-Birmingham manager calling the youngster ‘a fantastic player’ with ‘a lot of potential’ (Liverpool Echo).
The winger’s time with the seniors will almost certainly come again, but for now it’s about taking gentle steps towards featuring regularly for the under-21s once more and hopefully enjoying better luck on the injury front.