Liverpool teenager Ki-Jana Hoever 'did well' after Dejan Lovren injury - Jurgen Klopp
WOLVERHAMPTON, England -- Jurgen Klopp praised the performance of 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever after the defender made his Liverpool debut during the 2-1 FA Cup loss at Wolves on Monday night.
Hoever became the club's third-youngest player ever after Jerome Sinclair and Jack Robinson when he was thrust into action after five minutes of play at Molineux as Dejan Lovren came off with an injured hamstring.
Lovren's injury adds to Liverpool's concerns at centre-half, with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip still sidelined.
"Hamstring [is] what I heard, without any signs before," Klopp said of Lovren's condition at a news conference. "I asked everybody -- no signs, nothing, just out of the blue.
"That's the decision you have to make. I'm not sure what you all would have said if we bring immediately from the beginning, with our centre-half situation, Fabinho and Ki-Jana.
"Then probably a few smart people would tell me that I don't respect the competition or whatever. We tried to do all the things.
"On the other side, it doesn't make sense to bring a 16-year-old boy from the start. We wait until he's completely ready, but he did well. He came on and did well.
"Obviously that's how it sometimes starts when you are really needed. Then it's only about if you're good enough, not how old you are. He did well. That was all OK. That's it."
Liverpool currently sit four points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Hoever was one of three teenagers in Liverpool's team for the loss against Wolves as Curtis Jones and Rafael Camacho also made their competitive debuts for the club.
In total, Klopp made nine changes to his side for the third-round tie, which was settled by Ruben Neves' long-range strike, and stressed that they were required due to illness and injury.
"We are not here to be new world-record holders for the youngest team," the Liverpool manager said. "It's nice.
"The boys are around, the boys train with us. That's why they train with us because we think they are good enough. We play 10 versus 10, they are on the other team and believe me, they play much better than they did tonight. Just tonight it was not possible.
"After the City game we immediately had a few players who were ill, showed sore throat and all that stuff you can have in this period of the year. A few of them were not even in after the City game.
"Pretty much all the players not here today had little problems, apart from Ali [goalkeeper Alisson]. We had to make late changes. Yesterday, Adam [Lallana] was in our plans, like Hendo [Jordan Henderson].
"Dejan was not in the plans -- he should have only been on the bench. It happened what happened. It doesn't help a lot. Then we had to change again.
"We brought Mo [Salah] and Bobby [Roberto Firmino] on, and it looked obviously a little bit different. The intensity of the last few games gave me the information that it's not possible to start with the three up front.
"Only Dejan played a lot of games in the last three or four weeks -- pretty much all the games. That's why he was not [meant to be] involved. So he played today and he was injured. Hendo, yesterday. [James Milner] this injury already. That's the situation.
"Not too cool, but it was not really to change for today. That's the story of the game."