It’s actually funny watching grown men cry over Curtis Jones on social media. Guys that have never kicked a ball in anger literally fume every time the 22 year old retains possession by passing it backwards or side ways. For some reason they feel the England U21 international, that has struggled with injuries in recent seasons should be ghosting past players like Maradona or forcing clear cut opportunities with every touch of the ball.
These ridiculous expectations have seen the youngster get plenty of disgusting, hate filled abuse from people that call themselves fans of the club. However, his recent performances against Chelsea, Arsenal and Leeds Utd have made many of these keyboard warriors stop and have another look at a player that Jurgen Klopp obviously rates very highly. For me his ball retention has always been good. He’s strong in possession, has a trick or two to get out of tight situations and recycles play nicely. The downside to this is the time he can take to make decisive decisions. One touch too many can seem to slow play down and frustrates fans into thinking he can not play football at all at the highest level. But in recent weeks, with the slight tweak in the Liverpool system, Jones has been able to get further forward, play between the lines and use his abilities more effectively.
His assist for Diogo Jota’s first goal against Leeds Utd on Monday night was a perfect example of what he can do in the final third. At his best he has the vision and the ability to be a very dangerous player, while having the the cover of both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho behind him means he can press more effectively.
It’s a positive spell of form for a player that has never doubted his own ability, but it’s a positive spell that has also left Liverpool with something of a conundrum. Despite the team’s up lift in performances there is no doubt that new additions to the squad are needed if we are to challenge at the top once again. While I feel that Jones in this guise could still play a big part in the squad we have to wonder whether he can keep it up and stay injury free. We have spent the last three seasons cursing the football gods that have sidelined many of our top players with various niggles, knocks and worse and we simply can not risk another campaign with the same issues. So if there is any doubt about Curtis Jones’ body and his ability to perform consistently at the top level then Klopp and Co should use his current form to demand the highest price possible for his services. With that money we can then bring in a player that can hold up to the rigours and demands that takes to play for Liverpool FC.
This might seem harsh on a player that is yet to hit his peak, but the time for sentiment has gone. Liverpool FC need to have a clear direction moving forward which can only happen by stamping out as much doubt from the squad as possible and despite his recent improvement, Curtis Jones is still a very big doubt.