Curtis Jones’ resurgence has come at just the right time for Liverpool. The Scouser has been plagued by injuries and lacking playtime this season, but just when we need another presence in midfield, he has started to come good (again). Especially with the announcement that three midfielders are departing this season (well okay, an able bodied one and two that haven’t been able to play a full 90 in years), the future for Jones looks bright - if he can keep himself fit.
If there’s anyone that knows anything about the endurance the midfield requires, it’s captain Jordan Henderson.
“He has been outstanding,” Henderson told the club website recently when asked about the Academy graduate.
“Everything that he has been doing with and without the ball: with the ball it speaks for itself, he rarely gives it away, he’s great in tight spaces, a really clever footballer, the goals he scored were outstanding.
“But also the work-rate without the ball has been key over the last few weeks. He is a great athlete, when he loses it or when we lose it he wins the ball back really quickly for us and his counter-press has been brilliant. He has been a really big plus for us over these last few weeks for sure.
“It definitely helps to get a run of games in the team. It’s hard when you are coming in for one game, when you are coming on as a sub and things like that. But Curt has had a good run of games and I think you can see the confidence and how that has helped him these past few weeks, definitely.”
Jones’ biggest moments came on Monday’s match against Leicester City when he scored two of the three goals to secure the win, and effectively shutting out the Foxes and their terrible fans. Jones scored twice in the first half to get everything going, even from a match that Henderson said started a little hectic.
“I thought the overall performance was really good. First 10 minutes I think was a little bit hectic, we didn’t control it too well, but after that I thought we got hold of the game, created some great chances, played some great stuff and defended really well without the ball. So, a lot of positives to take from the game,” Henderson continued.
“I think getting the goal and then just before half-time getting the second one, we could have had a third actually I think just shortly after that so [we were] a little bit disappointed that we didn’t go in with the third one because I think 2-0 can always be a dangerous scoreline, especially at half-time because you know the other team is going to come out and throw everything [at you].
“If they get one goal then it’s 2-1 and their crowd can get up and it can change the game and be difficult from there. But I thought the lads controlled the game from that point and Trent’s free-kick wrapped the game up for us really.”
Truly, the wonder came from being able to keep the clean sheet and not concede early, as has been the Liverpool way this season more than anything else. Goals from our two Scousers as the Leicester fans continued their tragedy chants? Priceless. Every win is important at this late stage of the season, as the Reds look to secure Champions League football next season - even if it looks like it’s going to come down to the wire again.
“That’s why the clean sheet is really important for us and the way we defend is important, especially away from home, so we need to keep that going. Hopefully we can win our next two games and see where that takes us,” the captain explained.
“Just concentrate on the performance from ourselves, keep the performance level up and hopefully we can try to win the next two games, which will be tough, and then see where we are at the end of the season.”