Belfast Telegraph

Hoever: Carabao Cup perfect opportunity for Reds to blood youngsters

The 17-year-old Dutch defender scored in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over MK Dons.

Ki-Jana Hoever helped Liverpool defeat MK Dons (Nick Potts/PA)
Ki-Jana Hoever helped Liverpool defeat MK Dons (Nick Potts/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA

Ki-Jana Hoever believes the Carabao Cup presents the “perfect way” for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to blood his young players.

The Reds saw off MK Dons 2-0 in their third-round clash on Wednesday night as Klopp made wholesale changes, including handing out three senior Liverpool debuts.

Hoever scored the second goal on his first start for the European champions, who had taken the lead in the first half as Dons goalkeeper Stuart Moore fumbled James Milner’s effort over the line.

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Ki-Jana Hoever (second left) scored Liverpool’s second goal against MK Dons (Joe Giddens/PA)

With 16-year-old Harvey Elliott becoming the youngest player to start for Liverpool in the club’s history, Caoimhin Kelleher playing in goal and the likes of Rhian Brewster and Curtis Jones getting a chance to impress, Hoever feels the competition is an ideal proving ground.

“I think that’s the perfect way to start learning how to play for Liverpool, how they want to play, with some experience in the team,” the Dutch youth international told the club’s official website.

“I think it’s nice to have a few youngsters. You need to play your game. You are here because you can play good football so you need to show everyone and not try to hide, just show your talent and we all tried to do that.

“I have never scored before for Liverpool in the U18s or the U23s so it’s the first one for Liverpool and I’m really happy.”

Hoever, 17, moved to Liverpool from Ajax last year and is hoping to be involved in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup as Klopp’s side welcome Premier League rivals Arsenal to Anfield.

“You hope the manager starts you in the next game again and gives you minutes,” he added.

“That’s what you are hoping for – the next game.”

Elliott hit the woodwork twice during the match but MK Dons created opportunities of their own as Jordan Bowery also saw a shot strike the post.

“I’m quite gutted really, I think we could have scored a few,” said Dons defender Regan Poole.

“We didn’t hold back, had a good go and a fair few chances and we should have scored a couple – that is the only regret really.

“We were always hoping to have a right go with nothing to lose and I think we showed that. In the second half I think we were really good.

“We need to take this confidence now into the league, kick on and get back to winning ways.”

PA

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