Liverpool’s change to welcome Thiago Alcantara opens possibility for Curtis Jones

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When Curtis Jones scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool against Aston Villa at Anfield in July, his coach was full of praise. “He signed a new contract, which is good for him and for us. We will have a lot of fun with him in the future, ”said Jurgen Klopp.

“We don’t want to overdo it, but he looks like he’s ready.”

Jones then made his first league start against Burnley, before further replacement appearances against Chelsea and Newcastle.

He has since resumed his bench role against Arsenal in the Community Shield and in the 2020/21 League opener against Leeds United. It looks like Klopp is determined to get the 19-year-old into his squad as often as possible.

And while that’s undoubtedly a good thing for Jones, it’s interesting to wonder how and where he could fit into the squad on a regular basis.

Jones is certainly versatile. He may have only made 15 senior appearances for Liverpool, but he has already held four different positions in those matches (according to Transfermarkt).

However, his four direct contributions to goal – his strikes against Everton, Shrewsbury and Villa, to go with a Carabao Cup assist in the insane 5-5 draw with Arsenal – came while playing in midfield.

Much will depend on what tactics Klopp chooses to deploy in the future.

The Liverpool manager has stuck quite stubbornly to a 4-3-3 formation for the majority of his time in England, and Jones would be perfectly capable of playing in the midfield trio behind the three established forwards, as he has. often when given chances. to play.

Things could be about to change, however. Klopp recently experimented with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which would open up more options for Jones if he chose to make it a regular thing.

The Community Shield is a good example. The game started with the Reds in their familiar lineup, with Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner on either side of Fabinho in midfield three.

Klopp then made a double substitution after 59 minutes and changed his squad to 4-2-3-1, with Wijnaldum and Naby Keita providing the midfield platform for the three regular forward and Takumi Minamino, who went on to go on Mark.

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Jones only played for the last eight minutes of the game, but he did so alongside Keita, rather than further forward.

It’s reasonable to assume that Liverpool could play a double-pivot midfielder much more frequently in the future.

After all, Thiago Alcantara played there superbly for Bayern Munich, most recently in the Champions League final where he made more passes than any other player.

His ability to play nice long passes on the flanks will be praised by Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. Jones may not be in the same category yet, but Klopp’s accommodating tactics for Thiago could open up playing time possibilities for the young Scouser.

It is not unreasonable to think that he could play in the center of the trio behind the spearhead striker if necessary too. Even though he has only created one chance in his brief Premier League career so far, the Liverpool no.17 has shown a good ability to find teammates in attacking positions.

According to Statsbomb data, via FBRef.comJones averaged two assists per 90 minutes to a player who then continues to create a chance, which is a higher total than his Liverpool teammates on average in recent years.

Wherever he ends up playing, his small career sample certainly suggests that he can play the pass before the assist pass and get through the box himself.

A player capable of doing this will always have the opportunity to shine.

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