Ki-Jana Hoever is the latest Academy prospect Jürgen Klopp has welcomed to Melwood with open arms.
A Netherlands youth international, Hoever recently followed the likes of Rafael Camacho, Curtis Jones and Adam Lewis in making the step up to train regularly with Liverpool’s first team.
The youngster – who joined the Reds from Ajax last year – is in Klopp’s thoughts for inclusion in his squad for Monday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers, with the manager asked for an assessment of his progress during his pre-match press conference.
“He is one for the future of course but what we will do with him now for the game, I don’t know. But he’s one for the future, he’s 16 years old and turns 17 I think in a few days,” Klopp said.
“So that’s the thing, if Joel [Matip] and Joe [Gomez] would have been fit the whole time now, then probably Ki-Jana would not have been in training but now he was in and is still in and it is just a joy to watch him.
“He’s an incredibly confident young fella and he is really a good player on top, so that’s nice. That we can see him now day in and day out that’s really cool.
“Yes for sure [he is] for the future, [but] when the future starts I don’t know. But he is in and he learned a lot and he improves a lot [and] it will happen automatically. So it’s a nice prospect for the next months and years.”
Attacking midfielder Jones, meanwhile, is approaching the first anniversary of his maiden call-up to Melwood.
And Klopp believes that, like his fellow youngsters, the 17-year-old Scouser is benefitting greatly from being around the Reds’ senior players on a daily basis.
The boss continued: “Curtis is another good example, he’s just a fantastic player. He is now with us since February last year and it’s just brilliant to have them around.
“If you could see them every day then you would see how big the steps they make [are]. They are fantastic young professionals, really, included in an outstanding good group so their education in the dressing room is brilliant.
“They see how you have to behave and how you can behave: show your football, be confident, be childish if you want in the right moments, that’s how it is and there is no problem – you don’t have to act like a 40-year-old guy. All these things, that’s what they learn.
“Rafa Camacho is the same. We have a lot of these young boys constantly around and I’m really happy about that, but they have all the time in the world. They are really young and it is not about pushing them into a situation.
“The good thing is that if one of these boys will play on Monday, then it is all my responsibility. They only have the opportunity to show up and play football and all the things that don’t work are my responsibility and my fault because then I made the wrong decision and they were not ready, that’s how it is.
“But it would not be a problem for the future, only a problem for the moment. So they are here, in the right place and it’s absolutely nice to have them around.”