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Norris, Elliot, Sinclair – Five youngest players in Liverpool history

Liverpool’s history has been littered with the emergence of talented young players, the likes of Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Raheem Sterling some of the high-profile teenagers handed first-team opportunities during the modern era.

This season has been no different with the club memorably fielding the youngest-ever line up in their history for a Carabao Cup defeat to Aston Villa in December, containing five debutants and an average age of just 19 years, six months and three days.

That quintet are just five of many precocious talents to make their Liverpool bow, and we’ve decided to profile the club’s very youngest first-team stars.

Here are the five youngest players in Liverpool history:

Ki-Jana Hoever – 16 years, 11 months and 20 days

The Netherlands youth international arrived from Ajax in 2018 with the Dutch side believed to be hugely disappointed to lose the promising defender, Hoever having starred in the club’s academy ranks prior to his move to Merseyside.

Comfortable centrally or at right-back, Hoever has made three first-team appearances in the domestic cup competitions this season and scored his first senior goal against MK Dons in September.

The teenager would, however, make his debut last season, coming on as a substitute during an FA Cup tie against Wolves just days before his 17th birthday.

Hoever replaced Dejan Lovren early on in a 2-1 defeat at Molineux in January 2019, becoming Liverpool’s youngest ever FA Cup debutant in the process.

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James Norris – 16 years, 8 months and 13 days

Liverpool’s Club World Cup commitments saw a collection of academy prospects handed first-team debuts in domestic competition this season, notably the previously mentioned Carabao Cup defeat to Aston Villa, a fixture overseen by former development manager Neil Critchley.

Full-back Norris, an international with England at youth level, was one of those handed his first-team bow, coming on as a substitute at Villa Park in December as the Reds youngsters were overwhelmed by their senior Premier League opposition.

The local academy product’s debut would come aged just 16 years, 8 months and 13 days, Norris the fourth-youngest player in Liverpool’s 128-year history.

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Jack Robinson – 16 years, 8 months and 8 days

Robinson would be tipped as a star for the future after becoming the youngest player in Liverpool’s history a decade ago, handed his debut by Rafael Benitez as a late substitute against Hull City on the final day of the Premier League season in 2010.

The left-back’s appearance saw him break Max Thompson’s 36-year record, but despite his initial promise the youngster’s progress stalled and he made just 11 first-team appearances at Anfield, spending time on loan at the likes of Wolves and Blackpool.

With his path to the first-team blocked, Robinson joined QPR on a permanent basis in 2014 and has since gone on to forge a successful career, featuring for the likes of Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest before a return to the Premier League at Sheffield United during the 2020 January transfer window.

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Harvey Elliott – 16 years, 5 months and 21 days

Handed his debut by Fulham aged just 15, Elliott later became the youngest player in Premier League history when coming on as a substitute for the west London side against Wolves in May 2019.

The winger’s evident talents saw interest from some of Europe’s leading clubs, but it was Liverpool who won the race for his signature last summer and Elliott has since made fleeting appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side, becoming the second-youngest player in the Reds’ history.

Elliott’s debut came during a Carabao Cup tie against MK Dons earlier this season, becoming the youngest ever player to start a competitive fixture for the club.

The teenager has since impressed in six further first-team appearances, and Klopp will hope to extract the most from his mercurial talent in the coming years.

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Jerome Sinclair – 16 years, 0 months and 6 days

The youngest player in Liverpool’s history, Sinclair made his first-team debut for the club just six days after his 16th birthday, coming on against former club West Brom in a League Cup tie at the Hawthorns in 2012.

Liverpool had signed the young forward from the West Brom academy as a 14-year-old, with Sinclair tipped for a bright future following his record-breaking senior appearance just two years later.

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Despite scoring prolifically at youth level, however, Sinclair struggled to make a first-team impression and made just a further four appearances, scoring a solitary goal against Exeter in the FA Cup in 2016.

Having failed to make the grade the forward signed for Watford in a £4m deal later that year, though his career has been one of unfulfilled potential at present.

Loan spells at the likes of Birmingham, Sunderland and Oxford have failed to reignite a once promising talent, the 23-year-old Sinclair currently on loan at Dutch side VVV-Venlo where he has failed to score in 23 Eredivisie appearances.

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