Inside story of how Ki-Jana Hoever became Liverpool's next superstar in the making


It was an FA Cup tie which will not go down in memory as a classic.

In fact, for many, it will perhaps only be remembered for one reason – Ki-Jana Hoever.

As Dejan Lovren lay injured on the turf just six minutes in, 16-year-old Hoever was thrown into action for his first-team debut.

Jurgen Klopp’s decision to go with a weakened side for the clash with Wolves proved to backfire, as Liverpool were dumped out at the third round stage.

But it was Hoever who stole the headlines with an impressive display that has got Liverpool fans talking.

Now the Liverpool Echo have taken a look just how Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool



Liverpool’s Ki-Jana Hoever speaks with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before he is substituted on

The youngster has only been at Liverpool a matter of months, after making the switch from Ajax in June.

Club scouts were well aware of his talents before then however, and had been keeping tabs on Hoever for around a year prior to his move.

But It wasn’t just Liverpool who had developed an interest in the Dutch defender.

ALSO READ   David de Gea transfer: Paris Saint-Germain 'to hijack Juventus' bid' - Monday's gossip

Manchester United , Manchester City and Chelsea were among a number of top European clubs all hot on his tail.



Liverpool’s Dutch defender Ki-Jana Hoever waits to be substituted on

The chance to join Klopp’s revolution at Anfield though, proved to be too good an opportunity to turn down.

Liverpool invited Hoever and his family to the city, and showed them around the stadium and the clubs Academy complex in Kirkby.

Along the way they were given a tour of the established trophy room, but it was Klopp’s faith in youth which really sealed the deal.




The German boss has shown he is willing to give precious playing time to those coming through the Academy ranks – with Trent Alexander-Arnold the pin up for its success.

Alexander-Arnold enjoyed a wonder season last campaign, securing his place in the first XI before featuring in the Champions League final and earning an international call-up to the World Cup with England.



Hoever of Liverpool was one of the only positives in the defeat

His rise convinced Hoever and his family that Liverpool was where his future lay.

ALSO READ   FIFA 19 top 10 players from the Chinese Super League as EA Sports includes money-rich division for the first time

It was an easy move for the Reds, who were able to sign Hoever for just 100,000 Euros (£90,000).

Due to Hoever playing in his native Holland, Liverpool avoided a tribunal – something that would have been a certainty had they signed him from a Premier League club.

Hoever quickly showcased his talent with promising performances for the under-18’s and 19’s, before earning a spot in the under-23’s team.

Making his debut in a 1-0 win over rivals Everton , he quickly developed his reputation as a solid defender, equally comfortable at right-back or in the centre.



Diogo Jota of Wolverhampton Wanderers is tackled by Ki-Jana Hoever of Liverpool

It wasn’t long before he was sent to train with the first team, where he found himself marking Mohammed Salah.

Hoever’s displays in training were enough to convince Klopp to let England international Nathaniel Clyne to leave the club on loan.

From there luck played its part for Hoever, as injuries meant he was given a place on the bench by Klopp for the visit to Wolves.

ALSO READ   Transfer news LIVE: Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd latest rumours on January deals

Klopp said in the build up to the match: “He is 16, turns 17 in a few days. If Joel and Joe would have been fit all of the time, then probably Ki-Jana wouldn’t have been in training with the first team, but he was in and is still in.

“It is just a joy to watch him.



Ki-Jana Hoever of Liverpool tackles Ivan Cavaleiro of Wolverhampton Wanderers

“He is an incredible, confident young fella and is really a good player on top of that.

“It’s nice we can see him day in, day out. It’s really cool.

“He is for sure for the future, but when the future starts I don’t know.

“But he is in and he learns a lot and improves a lot, it will happen automatically.

“It’s a nice prospect for the next months and years.



Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hugs Ki-Jana Hoever after the final whistle

“Wolves? I don’t know, we will see.”

None would have been more surprised than Hoever when Klopp summoned him from the bench to take over from the injured Lovren.

But he belied his years with a mature performance, which was one of the only solaces Liverpool could take from a lacklustre team display.

Whether we see Hoever in the first team again this season remains to be seen, but he’s certainly done his chances no harm.

Read More

Mirror Football’s Top Stories

Comments

comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here