Curtis Jones is coming on a period that will make or break his Liverpool career. The youngster could have a bright future at Anfield.
Curtis Jones has played one minute of football this season and it came in the Community Shield. That will be a fact that hurts, too, as injuries in midfield should have opened opportunities for him.
Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thiago and Jordan Henderson have all been out or are out. Jones, though, joined them on the absentee list at a time that should have been his.
That’s the position he’s in, after all. Jones is yet to fully establish himself as a first-team regular with Liverpool and still relies on absences for significant game-time. Notably, he needs it now.
Curtis Jones and his Liverpool career
There will be big changes in Liverpool’s midfield next year. Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner are all out of contract and the suspicion is that all will leave. That would be huge.
We know Liverpool have eyes on another midfield, too, as reports linking them with Jude Bellingham continue to grow. There’s the possibility of triggering the clause in Arthur’s loan contract and making that permanent, too. We’ll see how that one goes.
Jones, then, is in a strange position where he could massively rise up the pecking order. If he does so, he’ll do it permanently – Liverpool won’t renew the contracts of players beneath the Scouser. Certainly, they wouldn’t do so on wages that justify a place above him.
But if the likes of Keita remain above Jones in the pecking order by the end of the season, Liverpool have decisions to make. Either they do renew those deals or they buy a replacement – they won’t simply ‘promote’ Jones if he hasn’t proven to be a better option.
He needs to return quickly, then. Now is the period for Jones to prove himself as injuries bite. Especially as there’s a genuine opportunity to play more in the business end of the season. The World Cup could leave several midfield stars exhausted and there may be a reliance on Jones. Liverpool will only rely on him if he proves by then that they can afford to, however.
We know Jones has the talent. Jurgen Klopp calls him ‘incredible’ and some of his stats from his debut year were incredible. The problem is staying fit and consistently moving up the pecking order.
Now is the time to do that ahead of a massive 2023 at Liverpool. Jones must position himself to make his Anfield career what it can be.