Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reviews Aston Villa game
Liverpool hero Steven Gerrard may have had a big part to play in Curtis Jones’ recent emergence as a star in the Reds midfield, owing to a conversation that the former Aston Villa head coach had with Jurgen Klopp. The 22-year-old had rarely featured before Liverpool’s change in shape which also saw Trent Alexander-Arnold move into midfield, while Jones has flourished in his new role.
Jones’ brace in the 3-0 win away to Leicester earlier this month earned him some well-deserved praise after slotting into a Liverpool midfield that has often been criticised this season but having made just a handful of starts this year prior to the last two months, Klopp has shown his patience.
Gerrard may have had a role in Klopp’s mentality with Jones, as he recently revealed that he warned the German not to lose patience with his new-found star. “I used to make it personal with my own teammates to make sure I was best, no one out trained me, no one out-performed me on a daily basis because then I could look at a manager in the eye and say ‘no no, I deserve to play in this team because I’ve shown you every single day or the majority of the days that I’ve been the best player’,” the former Liverpool captain told The Anfield Wrap.
“That’s the mentality you need at Liverpool, otherwise you don’t last long or you don’t play enough. I know he’s [Curtis Jones] got that [mentality]. I remember having a conversation with Jurgen and we were talking about Curtis and he was like ‘yeah, there’s a few little things that we need to improve in a few areas’ and all that.
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“I said ‘yeah I get that and obviously you’ve all seen him a lot more than me because he was spending more time at Melwood at the time,’ but I said ‘stay with this kid, whatever you’re thinking keep him and stay with him because he won’t let you down’. Once you get him right and you’ve fixed the few little things that you need to fix, he won’t let you down, he’ll be there for you. I think he’s showing Jurgen that now.”
Klopp is reaping the benefits of exercising that patience and has lavished praise on Jones for his recent displays. Speaking after Jones’ brace against Leicester, Klopp said: “He improved a lot, so I think a lot of things came together.
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“You should not forget he is still a young boy and one or two years ago he played super games for us as well. Then he had a difficult spell with injuries, that’s true – strange injuries, a finger in the eye and stuff like this. It took him out for a real while, but this year was especially bad.
“He could watch a lot of football, he could understand the game better and it looks really like that. I think where he improved the most is counter-pressing, it’s exceptional, and speed of play.
“He doesn’t keep the ball that long anymore – he does that, and has to do in moments, but he is much quicker in decision-making and stuff like this.”
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