As Liverpool romped to a 5-1 victory over FC Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, for many the game’s standout player wasn’t one of the forwards scoring all the goals but the young midfielder helping to set them up.
For the second game in a row, 20-year-old academy graduate Curtis Jones was the standout on the ball in Liverpool’s midfield, recording two assists while having a hand in many of the best chances the visiting side created on the evening.
“Curtis played a good game,” was manager Jürgen Klopp’s reaction. “He had some problems a little bit with the stomach before the game. They told me I need to keep an eye on him but I told him after the game whatever it is, keep it.
“He played a really good game, he was everywhere, he was involved in everything. Set up the first goal. In a lot of other situations he was really there. Maybe not as spectacular as the offensive stuff, but defensively he played a top-class game.”
While Jones—for all that he contributed to some of the better moments in attack—did shoulder at least some blame for Liverpool’s defensive struggles on the weekend against Brentford, against Porto his entire game was nearly flawless.
With James Milner likely to be needed again filling in for Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back this weekend, that likely means a third start in a row for young Jones when the Reds take on title rivals Manchester City on Sunday in the league.
“He defended really well, pressed from the blind side, a lot of things I liked a lot about his performance tonight,” Klopp added about the young midfielder’s Champions League night. “So let’s keep going, Curtis, it was not bad tonight.”