Former Liverpool youngster Ki-Jana Hoever has been named on the Golden Boy shortlist for 2022.
As per The Mirror, the 20-year-old has been included on the 100-strong list which honours the best player in Europe aged 21 or under.
Alongside Hoever, Liverpool are represented by Harvey Elliott and new-boy Fabio Carvalho.
Last year’s award was won by Barcelona teenager Pedri. Meanwhile, Liverpool have received past recognition, with Raheem Sterling picking up the gong whilst still a Reds player in 2014.
Hoever an unlikely candidate
Unlike Elliott and Carvalho, Hoever is something of a surprise inclusion.
The Dutch youngster had been doing well at Liverpool before being sold to Wolves for £9m in 2020.
Since then, he has struggled to properly establish himself at Molineux. He even looks like he could be on the move again this summer.
There’s no doubt that Hoever has potential. He caught the eye of Jurgen Klopp whilst at Liverpool and made his debut before he’d even turned seventeen.
All in all he managed four games for The Reds. Most memorably, he bagged a lovely header from a James Milner cross in the Carabao Cup.
Liverpool youngsters playing catch-up
At Wolves Hoever has now played 25 games over two years. Still a young player, it isn’t a terrible tally whilst playing for a decent Premier League side.
But compared to some of the other names on this list, he’s some way behind.
Neither Carvalho nor Elliott will be favourites to win mind you. Jude Bellingham is a much more high profile name on the list and Eduardo Camavinga was important to Real Madrid’s Champions League win this season. Both will have designs on winning the award.
Since Sterling’s win in 2014 Liverpool have only really had one player who could realistically call himself one of the best youngsters in the world.
Trent Alexander-Arnold would have been a worthy winner of the award. But he was unlucky enough to come up against the mercurial talents of Kylian Mbappe, Matthijs de Ligt and Joao Felix.
Liverpool’s academy is more productive than it has been in years. But it’s still all too rare that they unearth a talent that can make it right to the top of the game.