Jurgen Klopp gave an inspiring message to Curtis Jones ahead of his goal against Aston Villa on Sunday. It showed great faith in the 19-year-old.
Jones took the headlines on Sunday as he grabbed his first Premier League goal. With the game teetering at 1-0, Klopp threw the youngster on and saw his decision vindicated as Jones wrapped things up with the second goal that put Villa to bed.
It’s easy to see Klopp putting on a teenager for his third Premier League appearance as the Liverpool boss taking things easy. Or perhaps he got lucky after simply handing out some experience to a kid?
His message to Jones before the substitution proves he knew exactly what he was doing, however. In fact, it was an inspired substitution that showed tremendous faith in the 19-year-old.
“He [Klopp] was just saying the usual, he knows that I’m good on the ball but it’s about picking the right pass and knowing when to dribble,” Jones said after the game, per the official club site.
“He said the game was a bit ‘Villa were on the attack and then we were on the attack’, just to try and get a hold of the game by the scruff of the neck and control the game a bit more.
“That’s what I tried to do and hopefully the goal helped.”
Trusting a teenager to do that says a lot about Klopp’s belief. The fact he was right to do so says even more about the type of player Jones is. The Scouser goes on to call Gerrard his idol in that interview and his brief appearance on Sunday should draw comparisons with the two.
‘Grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck’ is effectively a longer way of writing ‘Gerrard’, after all. The Liverpool legend built a career on doing just that and Jones may well follow in his footsteps there.
We’ve talked about that potential before and it’s incredibly encouraging that Klopp sees it in him at just 19. Fingers crossed he can keep showing it then, as it would make him an invaluable part of the Liverpool squad.