BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas believes that Jurgen Klopp will count on Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones a lot more for Liverpool this season.
Writing in his season predictions for BBC Sport, Jenas claimed that the Liverpool youngsters will be important in 2022/23.
“I was thinking about Mane going and how he is a massive loss – they have lost one of the best players in the Premier League. But it freshens their team up and they don’t have anything to worry about squad-wise. I can see Liverpool’s younger players like Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones contributing a lot more this season, and they have got the best defence in the league,” said the former England man.
Jenas, along with eight of his BBC colleagues, think that Liverpool will end the season as Premier League champions.
Jones and Elliott still not assured of starting spots
In truth, whether Liverpool win the league or not is unlikely to hinge too much on either Jones or Elliott.
Both players will have their eye on Klopp’s third spot in midfield, but neither is likely to claim it full-time. Instead, they’ll once again provide lively competition for the more senior players.
Of the two, Elliott is certainly the one with the stronger claim to a starting XI berth. The 19-year-old was establishing himself in the side this time last year and only injury robbed him of the chance to make that a permanent state of affairs.
He has also been fairly impressive during his pre-season outings this summer. However, he does still look slightly short of the sparkling player we saw at Blackburn Rovers in 2020/21. Hopefully as he gets more minutes in his legs, the sharpness will fully return.
As for Jones, he’ll miss the start of the season through injury. Although he would have been unlikely to start the opener against Fulham, he’ll be mightily frustrated at missing the first few weeks once more.
Last season Jones was out for some time over the beginning of the campaign owing to a strange eye injury. It meant that he could never fully find the rhythm he needs to build up a run of form.
The Athletic now suggest that Jones could miss around four weeks of the season. That’s a blow for the 21-year-old. Hopefully he responds well to treatment and is back to fight for his place pretty soon.
If both can get and stay fit, they are sure to play bigger roles for Liverpool than they did in 2022/23. But whether Klopp can count on either as a regular first-team players is still in the balance.