Jurgen Klopp says he had a word with Curtis Jones about his passing after Liverpool beat West Ham United last night.
Jones started for the fifth game in a row for the Reds as they ran out 2-1 winners at the London Stadium. It was another positive outing for the 22-year-old, who has fought his way into Liverpool’s starting XI.
But speaking to BT Sport after the game, Klopp suggested that Jones’ display was just missing a cherry on top. Referencing Darwin Nunez’s current role in the side, the Reds boss said Curtis missed a perfect opportunity to play the striker in late in the game.
“Darwin, we get used to each other and on top of that we get used to a slightly new style. That makes a difference, but you can bring him on, he plays 20, 30 minutes, he’s a machine, gets in behind,” Jurgen explained.
“There was a ball Curtis wanted to play into his feet, I told him now, it makes no sense. He was already on his bike so that would have been a 100 per cent chance, definitely.”
Liverpool not playing to Nunez strengths
There were a couple of moments late in the game where Liverpool could have fed Nunez slightly better. The Uruguayan had one or two chances to really play on the last line of West Ham’s defence, but the ball wasn’t right.
Thankfully, it didn’t cost the Reds yesterday. But Klopp is right to highlight the need for playing to Darwin’s strengths.
Some Liverpool fans will be disappointed not to see the 23-year-old in the starting line-up at the moment. Whatever his shortcomings are, he’s usually fun to watch at the very least.
But as Klopp mentions, bringing him on later in games against tired legs can also have its benefits. He’s one of the fastest players in the Premier League after all. For Liverpool to make the most of that though, they have to feed him correctly.
Balls into feet are sometimes fine, but if the space is there then you may as well hit it. Chances are that Nunez will either get onto it or cause panic that opens up another opportunity.
As far as Jones is concerned, it’s good to hear the manager talking about him in this way. It means that he’s taken off the kid gloves. The Scouser has shown of late that more can reasonably be expected of him. Hopefully he takes it all on board and get the early pass off to Darwin next time.