While the result wasn’t exactly optimal, Liverpool did at least make a little bit of history during Monday’s FA Cup third-round defeat at Wolves.
When Dejan Lovren limped off injured within minutes of kick-off, the Croatian was replaced by academy defender Ki-Jana Hoever (born Jan. 18, 2002), who came on to make his senior debut at the tender age of just 16 years and 354 days.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 7 January 2019
In doing so, the Dutch teenager became the Reds’ youngest ever play in the FA Cup, and their third youngest player of all time behind Jerome Sinclair (16 years and six days) and Jack Robinson (16 years and 250 days).
An adolescent he may well be, but the youngster duly went on to impress at the back for Liverpool with a number of smart plays that earned a 7/10 ESPN match rating and praise from Jurgen Klopp despite an auxiliary side eventually falling to a defeat at Molineux.
Indeed, to put the age gap into some kind of context, Hoever had not seen his first birthday when one of his Liverpool teammates made his own senior professional debut.
Ki-Jana Hoever was 296 days old when James Milner made his Leeds debut.
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) 7 January 2019
Neither Ki-Jana Hoever, Rafael Camacho or Curtis Jones were born last time Everton won at Anfield
— Andy Heaton (@Andrew_Heaton) 7 January 2019
Liverpool’s Ki-Jana Hoever is so young that he will not remember Dennis Bergkamp playing for Arsenal. Which is unacceptable.
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) 7 January 2019
Some offerings were a little cheekier than others.
Ki-Jana Hoever was only 16 years 10 months and 15 days when Jordan Pickford threw the ball onto Divock Origi’s head
— Evan Fanning (@evanfanning) 7 January 2019
Naturally, Hoever’s tender years sparked despairing cries across social media from football fans bemoaning the ever-creeping loss of youth.
Things older than him include:
Liverpool’s ‘Treble’ of FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup (2001)
Jurgen Klopp’s managerial career (Feb. 27, 2001)
The iPod (Oct. 23, 2001)
The Xbox (Nov. 15, 2001)
The Strokes’ debut album “Is This It?” (July 30, 2001)
The “Lord of the Rings” film franchise (Dec. 10, 2001)
Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas in “Stranger Things” (Oct. 13, 2001)
If you’re still clinging on to those dreams of turning pro, it’s time to let them go.