With Liverpool’s midfield facing upheaval once again with Thiago’s long term injury, Curtis Jones has come back at just the right time. Sidelined with an eye injury and Covid-19, the Scouser is eager to get back on the pitch and contribute - potentially even on Thursday when the Reds host Arsenal for the next round of the Carabao Cup.
“I’ve been involved in the battles for the Premier League, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, so if I can add this as well, that will be amazing. I’ll try my hardest to help the team win it,” Jones said to the club website on Wednesday.
“I think it’s a huge chance. The last time we played against them [Arsenal] it was a big game. And then the game I actually played against them was the 5-5 game, and that was amazing. I scored the winning penalty at Anfield and it put us through.
“It’d be great if we could go out there and put on a show and get a win. I think Arsenal are in a good spell, doing well, have got a good team – but so have we. It’ll be a good game at Anfield, we’ve got the fans, so I’m confident.”
The Academy graduate has been an impressive addition to the midfield, able to move the ball forward when the more senior members surrounding him need to drop back. The eye injury the day before Atletico Madrid visited Anfield derailed a bit of that this season, as odd as it was, but he’s fully fit again and looking for another start.
“It’s very good now that I’m back,” Jones continued.
“I had an injury, it was a bad one – I had a tear in the back of my eye. But it was mad because, to me, I felt fine, I felt I could run, I felt I could train, I could play. But the doctors were saying no, so I had to go with that. I could only do a small bike session, stretching, foam rolling, stuff like that. I couldn’t even get in the pool. I had to just be chilled, relaxed and just wait.”
The 20 year old is no stranger to injuries, having played at the Academy from a young age (with Women’s team upstart Missy Bo Kearns, no less), but an eye injury was new for not only him but everyone else, apparently. With no real timeline for his return, his frustration helped him prepare for a proper return to the squad - watching and learning.
“A goal for the season was to get into the team, play, goals, assists and to help the team. I was doing that well and then it was the day before a huge game at Anfield against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and I got poked in my eye,” the midfielder explained.
“From then, I’m out for six-and-a-half weeks. I came back, trained twice and then COVID. So it’s been a hard two, three months but I’m back now, I’m working hard and I’m excited.
“I’m kind of used to getting knocks. The worst thing I’ve ever had is a bit of a tear in a hamstring but the physios here have seen that all before. They can sort of say if it’s going to be two weeks or a month out – you kind of know. But with this, we just didn’t have a clue, we didn’t know. We took it day by day, week by week and then in the end it was a month and a bit. It was hard but I’m fortunate enough now that I’m back.”
Liverpool face Arsenal at Anfield on Thursday for the first leg, before heading to Emirates for the rescheduled match that was postponed last week.