What happened to Liverpool’s 10 youngest debutants as star, 16, handed debut

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is set to rotate his squad for his side’s Carabao Cup third round tie against Norwich at Carrow Road and one of his selections will be particularly interesting.

Young winger Kaide Gordon is in line to make his first start for the Reds having impressed the coaching staff since arriving in February from Derby County.

Gordon cost Liverpool an initial £1million and his first start will mean Derby are due £100,000 in compensation, according to theDaily Mail.

He is just 16 years and 351 days old and will become the latest in a long line of youngsters to be given an opportunity to impress.

A look over Liverpool’s 10 youngest debutants shows what could lie in store for Gordon.

Jerome Sinclair

Sinclair is Liverpool’s youngest ever debutant, having made his first appearance for the club in September 2012 aged just 16 years and six days as a substitute against West Brom – the club the Reds signed him from.

There was to be just one more first-team appearance for the winger over the next four years, as he played for the Under-18s and was then hampered by injuries.

Sinclair ended up joining Watford in 2016 following a contract dispute and it has not gone to plan for him there, either.

Now aged 25, he is on his fifth loan spell from Watford at CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria, having previously spent time with VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands, as well as Oxford United, Sunderland and Birmingham City.

Harvey Elliott

The third round of the League Cup is an established starting point for young players at Liverpool and it was where Elliott made his debut as a 16-year-old, against MK Dons in September 2019 following a move from Fulham.

Two years on, after a hugely successful loan spell with Blackburn in 2020/21, Elliott was poised to make his breakthrough in Klopp’s first team this season.

An unfortunate ankle injury in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Leeds earlier this month has halted Elliott’s rise, but there is little doubt he will bounce back.

Jack Robinson

Robinson held the record as Liverpool’s youngest debutant for a long time after Rafa Benitez brought him off the bench in his final match in charge, against Hull City in May 2010.

He made just 10 appearances in total for the Reds and spent time on loan with Wolves and Blackpool before moving on to QPR in 2014.

The defender spent four years in west London before a two-year spell with Nottingham Forest took him to Sheffield United in 2020 where he remains to this day.

James Norris

Liverpool’s fourth-youngest ever player is Norris, a left-back who came off the bench in the team’s 5-0 thrashing by Aston Villa in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup back in December 2019.

Led by Under-23s boss Neil Critchley, the Reds turned out a side with an average age of 19 years, six months and three days against Villa. It was the youngest team in the club’s history and their combined shirt numbers added up to 737.

Norris is yet to make another appearance for the senior side but is now a part of Liverpool’s Under-23 side and signed a new long-term contract with the club in August.

Ki-Jana Hoever

Hoever made his Liverpool debut against Wolves in the third round of the FA Cup against Wolves in January 2019 after arriving from Ajax the previous summer.

He later scored in the Carabao Cup against MK Dons, but after getting stuck behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and Neco Williams in the pecking order, he moved on to pastures new in September 2020.

The right-back was sold to Wolves for £13.5million, with Liverpool also potentially benefiting from a further £4m in add-ons and a 15 per cent sell-on clause.

Ben Woodburn

Woodburn is a young striker who remains to be thought of very highly at Liverpool.

The Welshman made his debut as a late substitute in a 2-0 Premier League win over Sunderland in November 2016 as a 17-year-old.

Much of the hype around Woodburn stemmed from when he surpassed Michael Owen's record as Liverpool’s youngest goalscorer by netting in the EFL Cup quarter-final victory over Leeds, four days after making his debut.

Having spent time with Sheffield United, Oxford and Blackpool, he is now on loan with Scottish side Hearts.

With two goals in 11 senior appearances under his belt for Wales already, the 21-year-old is one to watch for the future.

What career path will Kaide Gordon follow after making his Liverpool debut today? Have your say in the comments section below.

Raheem Sterling

Given his success with Manchester City and England, it’s easy to forget that Sterling made his breakthrough under Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool at such a tender age.

Sterling was just 17 when he made his Reds debut against Wigan in March 2012 – two years after Liverpool won the race to sign him from QPR as a 15-year-old.

He went on to score 23 goals in 129 appearances across all competitions before Man City snapped him up for an initial £44m in July 2015.

Sterling rejected the offer of a five-year contract extension worth £100,000 per week at Liverpool to move and has gone on to establish himself as one of England’s best attacking players.

Max Thompson

A real throwback. Thompson long held the record as Liverpool’s youngest player, having made his bow aged 17 years and 129 days in the final league fixture of the season away to Spurs, four days after the FA Cup had been won in 1974.


It came in Bill Shankly’s last ever league match in charge and turned out to be Thompson’s only league appearance for Liverpool.

Still, his record stood for 36 years until Robinson made his debut in May 2010.

Curtis Jones

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Jones was 17 when Klopp gave him his first appearance, against Wolves in the FA Cup third round in January 2019.

The central midfielder has progressed impressively since then, showing his skill and maturity to earn Klopp’s trust and plenty of game time.

Still only 20 years old, Jones has already made 49 appearances for his hometown club and signed a five-year contract in July 2020.

Jordon Ibe

Ibe was 17 years and 163 days old when he made his Liverpool debut on the final day of the 2012/13 season.

It was a memorable one too, with the former Wycombe Wanderers winger providing an assist for Philippe Coutinho's decisive goal in a 1-0 win over QPR.

However, his impact didn’t last long. Ibe scored just fours goals in 57 appearances and after loans at Birmingham and Derby County he was sold to Bournemouth for £15m in 2016.

The winger joined Derby one again in September 2020, but left the club by mutual consent at the end of last season and has since opened up about his struggles with depression.

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