Liverpool fans are head over heels for their new teenage phenom, the 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever, who just made his senior debut for Jürgen Klopp’s side against Wolves. There’s been a hitch in his fairy tale rise, however, as the player received a controversial red card when he played with the Under-23s against Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday night.
Hoever was dismissed from the match following a foul on Aaron Connolly in the first half.
The decision to show him red came down to the linesman claiming that Hoever was the last man standing between Connolly and the goal. However, subsequent scrutiny showed that centre-back George Johnston was there as well.
Manager Neil Critchley didn’t mince words describing his anger at the referee’s decision, telling the ECHO, “Do I get fined if I speak the truth? I have to be careful what I say. It was just a strange, strange decision. It was a clear foul outside the box and a booking.
“The ref gave the free-kick and had the yellow card in his hand but for some reason the linesman got involved and then the referee changed his decision to a red card when quite clearly George Johnston is shepherding the boy away from goal and is in front of him.
“I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never seen a decision quite like that. Hopefully we can appeal. If the referee and linesman are honest people they might help us and say they made a mistake. I’d love to hear him say it was a red card. I really don’t know how anyone could come to that decision.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it? Ups and downs with playing for the first team and then this. Ki-Jana is young and is learning all the time. He had a fantastic experience last week, not so good tonight. But he will bounce back. Hopefully we can get that rescinded and he won’t miss any games.”
Liverpool seem prepared to appeal the call, but as it stands, Hoever will be missing next week’s match again West Brom.