Jurgen Klopp has already proven right about the Liverpool star in 2020


Whatever happens from now on, it’s a season that Curtis Jones will never forget.

The 2019/20 campaign was the one that catapulted him into the collective consciousness of football fans beyond the confines of Kirkby Academy.

After taking command of the under-23s at the start of the season, the teenager made eight appearances in total for his childhood club.

They include the fact that he becomes the youngest captain in Anfield’s history – just five days after his 19th birthday – and the match in which he really announced himself with a spectacular winner to beat Everton in a tie. in FA Cup in January.

Jones’s strong advance, however, may be traced back to August of last year when he signed a new long-term contract at Anfield.

“For me, it’s huge,” he said. “As a local man, my dream is to play for this incredible club.

“To see that the manager and the staff have confidence in me and offered me a new contract, I am absolutely in full swing. “

It was observed that the resolution of the situation had led to a more relaxed Jones. Released from the contract, he was free to wreak havoc on the opposition’s defenses, knowing that his future belonged to the Reds.

“I think anyone, when he has no distractions and can just focus on his football, I think it has certainly helped him,” Neil Critchley told ECHO in August.

“He seems much calmer about the situation and it certainly helped him. He now clearly knows where he wants to go and where he wants to be and it is our job to help him get there. “

A start to the Carabao Cup victory at MK Dons a month later doubled his score at Liverpool after making his debut in a 2-1 FA Cup loss to the Wolves earlier that year.

James Milner was one of the observers to comment on the growing maturity of Jones’s game after the pair worked in tandem on the left side against the Dons.

“I saw a huge difference at Curtis last year,” said the Liverpool vice-captain following a 2-0 victory at Milton Keynes.

“He always had that ability but seems a little more mature now; [he’s] defend well, take your right angles when defending.

“I think he also realized that if you want to play for Liverpool, it’s as important as things on the ball. Not only that, he has so many abilities, skills and tricks, and it’s about using them in the right field. ”

Jones’ next round was off the bench as he helped return Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal in favor of Liverpool in one of the craziest games Anfield has ever seen.

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Thrown into the fray just 10 minutes into the second half for an ineffective Naby Keita, Jones helped Jurgen Klopp’s men come back in the draw with a assist before the two teams tied the match 5- 5 after 120 minutes.

With confidence that highlights his tender years, Jones took the decisive kick at the end of the Kop to make sure the Reds qualified for the quarterfinals.

And the Toxteth-born midfielder had a bullish message for anyone listening full-time, saying, “This is just the start.”

“Being a local guy, I always dreamed of making an appearance at Anfield,” he said.

“Getting a assist to give us a chance and then scoring a penalty is just a dream come true. I was calm, I chose my place and I was lucky that the winning penalty entered.

“This is just the beginning, I am just a young boy and I still have a long way to go. All the opportunities that I will seize with both hands. That’s why you play football. “

After being expelled from the UEFA Youth League’s defeat at the Academy on November 5, it became clear that Jones was in line for his first taste of the Champions League later today.

As such, he was named to the bench as the Klopp team fought for a nervous 2-1 victory over Genk later that evening.

Curtis Jones watches during the FA Cup fifth round match between Chelsea and Liverpool

If the Reds had been in the lead that many had anticipated, Jones might have been summoned, but it wouldn’t be long before his big time got to Bournemouth.

Replacing Andy Robertson for the last 15 minutes, Jones made his Premier League debut when runaway leaders beat Bournemouth on December 7.

Klopp said, “It was his third time on the team, so I thought it made sense to bring him in. But it was not a gift, I have to say. It’s his development. We want to show respect for this and we appreciate it. “

Jones, however, would be forced to put half a dozen more devices on the bench before his next taste of action.

Liverpool’s resources spanned a generally busy festive period, making him part of the match day team for victories against Salzburg, Wolves and Sheffield United.

He also had one of the best seats in the house, while Liverpool was rioting with their season performance at Leicester probably the day after Christmas shortly after joining the extended substitutes’ bench Club world in Qatar.

Then came his big moment.

Curtis Jones of Liverpool celebrates after scoring
Curtis Jones of Liverpool celebrates after scoring

Seventy-one minutes after a tense Merseyside derby, Jones settled the procedure through the hosts with a fateful kick from his right boot. British No. 1 Jordan Pickford did not approach him when the Kop went wild.

A goal good enough to win any game was a heavenly moment for Jones. Those who had studied his development closely knew his talent, but the purpose of wonder earned him greater importance.

“A sensational game and a sensational goal of a Scouser – who could ask for more? Was Klopp’s succinct summary.

But perhaps more important to Jones was the aftermath of his manager’s mouth.

After becoming Liverpool’s youngest goalscorer in a Merseyside derby since Robbie Fowler more than 25 years earlier, Klopp’s next statement will have been music to his ears.

“I have known him for three and a half years, he has made great strides and will be a Liverpool player if nothing strange happens. “

But if Jones thought his season couldn’t be better, he was happily mistaken.

After eliminating Shrewsbury in a 2-2 draw, Klopp’s subsequent decision for himself and his players to move away from the FA Cup resume allowed Jones to take center stage.

Given the captain’s armband by replacement, Critchley, Jones seized his chance to shine in front of a practically exhausted Anfield.

A rabona in the first half purred fans and highlighted the impudence that crosses the attacking midfield when the mood takes it.

Ro-Shaun Williams’ own goal was enough to tie the tie for one of the youngest Liverpool teams of all time, with the show’s star Jones.

It was also enough to earn him his fifth start of the season at Stamford Bridge as Klopp mixed his peloton again for the next round against Chelsea.

This time, the teenager could not return the tie in favor of the Reds, but his post-match comments at ECHO were proof of a player growing in maturity and responsibility.

One evening when many of his senior colleagues chose not to express their thoughts, Jones spoke honestly, saying, “It’s not good when you’re out of competition, but yes, to me, the FA Cup has been great this season and I will not forget.

“I have scored some good goals and I will not forget them. I’m looking forward to the next games. I am a confident boy and every time I play I try to be the best I can be. “”

Jones can rightly hope to play an even bigger role next season.

With the departure of Adam Lallana at the end of his contract and the uncertainty linked to the coronaviruses which should affect so many people on the transfer market, the youngster will have more chances next time.

The message from his former manager Barry Lewtas is simple. Listen and learn.

“I think what’s important for his development is to make sure he does what the manager tells him to do,” Lewtas boss Under-18 told ECHO.

“He is in front of the staff of the first team now and they will have real direction from where they want to send his career. It is important that he receives messages from this place. “

“I enjoyed my time working with him. He came down and captained the Youth League games.

“He is a fantastic personality to have in the group. His performance for 19 years showed how far he had progressed with the first team and it is up to them to give him the right advice now.

“You can see how much he has grown as a person and matured as a man. He has taken his chance and he listens to them. This is the best advice I can give him these days. “

Klopp says he will be a Liverpool player. This season has proven that Curtis Jones already is.


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