As the famous Alan Hansen saying goes: ‘You can’t win anything with kids’. However, Liverpool’s young guns were able to take apart a full-strength Everton team in a 1-0 win at Anfield to progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was able to inspire victory in the 235th Merseyside derby despite making nine changes from the side that increased their Premier League lead to 13 points with victory over Sheffield United on Thursday – including three debutants in Takumi Minamino, Nathaniel Phillips and substitute Yasser Larouci.
Liverpool’s U23’s captain and local lad Curtis Jones emerged as the hero following his first senior goal for the club. The teenager rocketed a pile driver that cannoned off the crossbar and into the net leaving Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford helpless to proceedings.
Jones, 18, helped ensure that Liverpool’s unbeaten Anfield run in the Merseyside derby remained intact with the Blues still winless at the home of the European champions since 1999.
Following the match, former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was quick to praise the matchwinner who dominated the plaudits. Jones featured 15 times for the current Rangers head-coach when Gerrard was Liverpool U18’s manager during the 2017/18 season – he scored nine goals and boasting three assists.
Gerrard posted on his Instagram page after the match writing: ‘Love it kid’ to his former academy prospect. Jones swiftly responded to his childhood hero labelling the 2005 Champions League-winning skipper as his ‘inspiration’.
The winning goal from the Liverpool teenager meant that Jones became the youngest ever player since Robbie Fowler to score in a Merseyside derby.
Jones has been in inspiring form of late and recently scored a hat-trick in a 7-0 Uefa Youth League thrashing of Napoli in November before being promoted by the German manager to make his Premier League debut against Bournemouth and then, from the bench, his inaugural European appearance in a 2-0 Champions League win over Salzburg.
Liverpool’s Under-23’s and UEFA Youth League side, Jones has racked up 16 appearances and scored 13 goals – whilst also registering five assists. Klopp labelled the Merseyside hero as an ‘unbelievable player’ following his first senior goal for the club.