Liverpool have put serious pressure on Curtis Jones to perform this season. The Reds are finding they can’t rely on Thiago for the campaign.
It appears that Thiago will be missing for the next little while. Jurgen Klopp admitted on Wednesday that the Spaniard will need more time to get fit, even after a two-week international break.
It’s a worry. Thiago has now been out for a few weeks but this isn’t exactly his first injury with Liverpool. The problem he had a year ago wasn’t his fault – Richarlison’s tackle was an awful one – though, that hasn’t been his only issue.
Thiago claimed during the summer that he’d actually played the entirety of last season with a hamstring problem. He already had the issue when he arrived at Liverpool for £20m, in fact, and ‘couldn’t sprint’ for periods.
Now, we think Thiago is absolutely brilliant and he finished last season in wonderful form. It’s increasingly clear that Liverpool can only consider his fitness to be a bonus, however – there’s no reliability there.
There’s an extra need for Thiago to remain fit, though. Gini Wijnaldum left in the summer without a replacement, leaving the squad a little short. Things would be okay if the Spaniard were consistently fit but he plainly isn’t.
And with that, Liverpool have inadvertently placed a lot of pressure on Curtis Jones.
The pressure on Curtis Jones
Jones is currently playing the best football of his career so far. He’s operating in several positions, making things happen, and becoming a bit of a go-to in midfield.
But he’s still just a 20-year-old without too much experience as a ‘go-to’ player. Yet Liverpool need him to be just that as he’s their only current option capable of consistently moving the ball out of midfield.
As we wrote recently, he’s showing the things Naby Keita never really has. Jones is doing it in big games, too, and that’s really keeping Liverpool above water.
It would be one thing if Harvey Elliott were around – though, we’d argue that’s still a lot of pressure on two kids. His injury prevents that, of course.
Thus the onus is on Jones to be the progressive, ball-playing midfielder that Liverpool need alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson. Because without him, there’s not a lot to rely on.
It’s a mix of inconsistent form and injury with Liverpool’s other, more senior midfielders. Jones, then, is the one the Reds must turn to in order to keep the system working.
It’s a lot of pressure on Jones. We’ll just have to see if he’s up to it.