By James Miller – @JimmyMiller2608
Dutch starlet Ki-Jana Hoever has put pen to paper on an extended deal with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, highlighting the club’s thoughts on the youngster.
At just 17 years old, the academy product has been in and around the first team setup of the European Champions for a considerable length of time, even making his debut for the senior side in January as a 16-year-old.
After joining Liverpool from Ajax in 2018, he has gone on to impress on numerous occasions, subsequently earning himself a call up to the FA Cup squad last season. Then, he became the third youngest player ever to debut for the club, having featured from the substitute bench against Wolves at Molineux.
It is clear already that Klopp has a major talent on his hands in Hoever, and with the continuous inflation of prizes, solid management could in the near future save the club a small fortune.
Evidence based solely from the 2018/19 campaign suggests that Hoever may face an uphill battle to potentially pip his counterpart Trent Alexander-Arnold to a starting birth in the Premier League.
Alexander-Arnold has quickly risen to prominence, gaining many admirers, having formed one of the best full back partnerships in arguably world football, but the 20-year-old hasn’t always had a predominant role in a defensive line. In fact, initially he adopted more of a midfield role.
Speaking with BBC Sport, the England international expressed his thoughts regarding his natural position, saying: “When I was younger I was always a defensive centre-mid player – someone who liked to get on the ball and make things happen.”
However, he also spoke of his desire to provide a good option for his manager, reiterating his content in his current position: “I am happy to play wherever the boss wants me. At the moment he sees me as a full-back and I am happy there. It is important to bring in different dimensions to the position.”
Following an eye-catching display of not only his defensive abilities last season but also his attacking capabilities, the question of whether he could potentially make that switch to a regular midfield has been pondered by fans in the past.
A total of 17 goal contributions from a defensive position certainly does the beg the question of what could be achieved further forward, although with the Reds currently stacked in most positions the transition may be something that is far from the thoughts of Klopp just now.
The future can never be concluded until it is past, though. Should Hoever’s development continue at such a rapid rate, it may be a decision Klopp himself has too consider in order to fulfil both player-t ambitions of first-team football at Anfield.
Blessed with natural technique, in addition to smooth control there have been signs that Trent may have the footballing brain to be able to adapt to such a switch. Quite a dry summer in terms of business may prove to be a factor moving forward, should any such decision be on the horizon.
Concluding the window with no major additions could perhaps leave the squad thin – it might be that things open for Trent to fill in at some point this season in midfield.