Curtis Jones has enjoyed a rapid rise to the Liverpool first-team but it leaves little room for Mark Grujic. The Serbian holds an Anfield ‘dream’.
Jones has been very impressive this season. He announced himself with the winning penalty against Arsenal in the League Cup but truly made sure everyone knew his name with an outstanding winner against Everton.
Picking the ball up on the corner of the box, Jones settled the FA Cup tie by curling one into the top corner. It was an incredible goal, his first at senior level – truly remarkable for a young Scouser.
And it’s been upwards since. Jones bagged another in the next round against Shrewsbury and has since made Premier League appearances. He got his first league goal against Aston Villa recently, scoring off the bench to settle the game at 2-0. That earned him a start against Burnley where he impressed again, albeit without a goal.
We see a bright future in Jones and he’s a player that Liverpool will surely persist with.
Out in the cold
While this is good news for Liverpool and Jones, it certainly isn’t good for Grujic. The Serbian has spent the last two years on loan with Hertha BSC and has impressed. He’s received very high praise from everyone at the club, particularly in his first season.
We wrote in February that Grujic had earned a shot at Liverpool and could replace Adam Lallana. But it’s now apparent that Jones has that place in the squad.
That’s quite a blow for a 24-year-old who recently said he still holds onto a ‘dream’ of playing for Liverpool regularly. Instead, he’s watched a teenager take a role he will surely have hoped was his.
The future for Grujic
It’s tough to see where Grujic can fit in at Liverpool now. There are two things working in his favour, however. Firstly, there’s an economic downturn. That makes it difficult for any team to buy the player, given Liverpool supposedly want around £25m.
Secondly, he has a contract until 2023, according to the Echo. There’s no rush for Liverpool to sell him, then. They can loan him out once more and see what happens – and another place could open up.
James Milner is now 34 and won’t have long left as a genuine first-team option at Liverpool. In a year’s time, Jurgen Klopp and co. may be tempted to hand his role over to Grujic, should the Serbian continue to impress.
But that is something of a long-shot, it has to be said. Still, it remains the best chance for Grujic to live that Liverpool dream.