Hoever, Jones & Camacho: Are debutants ready for breakthrough?
Glenn Price, a Liverpool correspondent for ESPN, takes a closer look at each of three youngsters who have already played for the senior team.
Ki-Jana Hoever: On the first-team fast track
"The defender, who can operate as a centre-half or right-back, has already represented the club at under-18s, U19s, U23s and first-team level in the opening months of his Liverpool career. He's also left a lasting impression on each team, but U23s manager Neil Critchley is not one to get carried away.
"Having coached Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn on their routes to the first team, Critchley has always been quick to play down heightened expectations. But even he was taken aback by Hoever's display against Everton at Goodison Park in November. "Unbelievable," Critchley said. "16 years old? Just ... wow, really?"
Unpopular opinion but I think some fans are getting carried away with Ki-Jana Hoever debut. It wasn’t bad for a 16 year old but thinking he is ready to start week in week out is completely ludicrous. #LFC— Fawad Parvez (@fawadparvez) January 10, 2019
"Hoever, now Liverpool's third-youngest player in club history, turns 17 on Jan. 18. Two sources have told ESPN FC that they would be amazed if he does not sign a first professional contract on the day of his 17th birthday."
Curtis Jones: A fearless local talent
"While often on the periphery against Wolves, Jones has shown he can cut it at this level. It was in July when he lit up a dour friendly with Manchester City at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The dynamic midfielder would readily display the ability and self-confidence that can see him dominate games.
In midfield, the fragility that is Lallana unfortunately has to be replaced. With Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum as DM options, Milner (one more year), Henderson (tough to offload anyway), Ox and Shaqiri as AMs. Just sign Lallana's replacement and integrate Curtis Jones.— footbork (@footbork) January 11, 2019
"Jones would give an interview to the Liverpool Echo after that City match in July but cringed watching it back, believing he had been awkward and nervous. Undeterred, he would speak to the media at Molineux after his debut. Persistence and fearlessness are traits of Jones as a player and person.
"As a 17-year-old boy coming from Liverpool, it's every kid's dream being a footballer and going out there and playing for Liverpool," Jones told reporters. "I was more excited than anything."
Rafael Camacho: Versatile for whatever Liverpool need
"Camacho joined Liverpool from Manchester City in 2016. Out of the three young players, his emergence is most surprising, although his regular exposure to Melwood did begin partway through last season. His performance at right-back away to Premier League opposition is worthy of further credit given that it's not his natural position.
Now looks like Rafael Camacho to Liverpool loan deal will not happen. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has stepped in and said no. 18-year-old made his senior debut in FA Cup match against Wolves earlier this week.— Rui Miguel Martins (@futebolfactory) January 10, 2019
"More of a winger comfortable on both flanks, Camacho has also played as a No. 9 for Portugal's youth sides. Barry Lewtas, Liverpool's coach in the UEFA Youth League, the youth equivalent of the Champions League, hasn't even used him as a full-back before."