16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever's recent emergence in Liverpool's first team seemed to come out of nowhere in the FA Cup defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, but the circumstances leading to his debut reportedly came thanks to one particularly impressive display in training.
With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip sidelined with injury, Dejan Lovren was forced off early in the first half, leading to Hoever becoming the youngest ever Liverpool player to appear in the FA Cup.
His composed showing at the heart of the defence was a rare highlight in Liverpool's sub-par display, and James Pearce from the Liverpool Echo explained that it all started with one particular training session - in which the teenager marked the prolific Mohamed Salah to impressive effect.
He even said that it factored into Klopp's decision to loan out Nathaniel Clyne, saying: “Hoever found himself marking Mohamed Salah in a training game and senior professionals were blown away by how well he handled the Egyptian attacker. He’s been with the first-team squad since.
“As well as his obvious talent, Klopp has been impressed by his character and attitude. There is no hint of arrogance. He’s humble and grounded.
“When Nathaniel Clyne declared that he wanted to leave on loan, Hoever’s rise was one of the reasons why Klopp granted him his wish.”
Hoever arrived at Liverpool from Ajax in the summer, but wasn't really expected to make an impression in the first team so early on.
With Gomez and Matip out for the next couple of weeks at least, however, and the unclear situation surrounding Lovren, we may see a bit more of him in the days to come.
Source : 90min