Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold are examples of young, talented players in the Jürgen Klopp era at Liverpool who took their opportunities with both hands when circumstances required it. And after being pressed into service in the 2-1 FA Cup loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers, academy youngster, Ki-Jana Hoever’s impressive display has him hoping that he could be next in line.
Injuries to Gomez and Joël Matip meant that a few impressive training sessions resulted in a call up to train with the senior squad and a place on the bench for 16-year-old in Monday’s match. A surprise call to action came as Liverpool’s third of four recognized center backs, Dejan Lovren went down with a hamstring complaint mere minutes into the game with Hoever putting in an encouraging display on his debut.
A moment from one of those training sessions that put into to motion the events leading to Monday night occurred about a week prior to Christmas when, according to the Liverpool ECHO, the youngster was assigned to mark the Premier League’s record scorer, Mohamed Salah.
Rather than crumble in the way many a defender have when up against the fleet-footed Egyptian, observers were reportedly “blown away” by how well Hoever marshaled his teammate.
Not even a full season into his time in England after arriving from Ajax for a mere £90,000 in the summer, the Netherlands U-17 international has made his way up the ranks in Kirkby, pushing through the under-18s, under-19s all the way up through the under-23s and now into the first team halfway through the campaign.
It has been an astonishing rise that is rumored to be partly why Klopp was willing to sanction the loan of Nathanial Clyne to Bournemouth in the midst of a defensive injury crisis. Early days yet, but Liverpool fans should be excited about this young talent coming through the ranks.