After going out and signing Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo, and Ryan Gravenberch to rebuild their midfield last summer, there’s a solid case to be made for Curtis Jones being the Reds’ biggest impact maker in the middle of the pitch so far in 2023-24.
Rather than speaking to any of the new signings disappointing, it speaks to the step forward Jones has taken after getting back on track last season, and assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders spoke this week about the growing influence of the 22-year-old academy graduate.
“His development goes hand in hand with the development the team went through,” Lijnders noted. “He always shows up, he’s this player who really leads with the ball and without the ball. We are really happy and proud he can give so much impulse every game.”
Lijnders also pointed to last summer’s U21 Euros as a key moment in the growth of Jones as a player, with the Liverpool man taking on a key role throughout the tournament and scoring the only goal in a 1-0 final victory over Spain that secured a third title for the Young Lions.
On the back of last season’s promise and that standout Euros performance, then, perhaps nobody should be all that surprised that after the injury setbacks earlier in his career, Jones appears full back to where many were projecting he would be at this stage in his career.
Expected or not, though, it’s been a standout season so far for both Curtis Jones and Liverpool, and the player deserves all the praise he’s been getting for the work he’s done to get here and his willingness to battle for minutes in what’s both a crowded and talented midfield.