Curtis Jones just put in the performance of his career so far as he dominated Porto in Portugal. It’s the kind of display Liverpool have wanted to see from someone else.
What a performance from Curtis Jones. It was a star-making effort and one that made it clear he’s a match-winner. He played a part in all five of Liverpool’s goals and was key in four of them.
The first saw Jones work a shot, with Mohamed Salah putting in the rebound. Goal no.3 was a counter-attack from the Scouser, who found Salah with a pass this time.
No.4 was a long ball over the top after clever work on the edge of his own box. Roberto Firmino got on the end to score. The fifth was a lot like the first – a shot from Jones that fell to a teammate.
But Jones’s underlying numbers are also exactly what Liverpool love.
His passing saw match-highs in creating chances and passing into the final third. Jones also completed 100% of his short and medium passes.
Carrying the ball was where Jones really shone, though. No one moved the ball forward more distance than the 20-year-old and he moved it into the final third more than anyone, too.
And then there’s pressing. Jones applied more presses than anyone else in the game – and was successful with 47% of them. Only Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson can top that percentage.
What a sensational all-around midfield performance, then. It’s exactly the kind Liverpool thought they would get from someone else.
Curtis Jones delivers a career performance
Jones was sensational and proved that he should probably continue starting for Liverpool right now. He’s ahead of everyone but Jordan Henderson at this point for the more advanced midfield roles.
And that does show up Naby Keita a little. This kind of all-action, game-changing display is exactly what Liverpool thought they were getting when they paid £53m for the Guinean.
Keita is someone who can affect the final third and can press like mad all game. It’s what he did for RB Leipzig, after all – we just haven’t seen it in Red after three years.
We still think there’s hope for Keita and some of his work this season has been very promising. It’s all been moments, however, rather than On Tuesday, though, Liverpool saw what they’ve wanted from Keita – it just came from an academy player six years younger than him.
The 26-year-old now has a fight on to earn a regular spot in this side. Not only is a younger player ahead of him, but he’s also doing the things Keita should be excelling at.