Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Curtis Jones could be Liverpool’s defensive midfielder this season.
As a result, Klopp is being forced to come up with in-house solutions. And speaking in his pre-Bayern Munich press conference ahead of tomorrow’s friendly, he was asked whether Jones could be the answer.
“In this actual set up how we have it and how the squad looks, he is one of the options definitely,” replied the Reds boss. “I think it’s no secret that we are still looking for players to join us, that’s one thing and the other is using what you have and I think Curtis can absolutely play that position.
“Can he play it when no one else is defending in the team? No, no chance. But then I don’t know any player who can do that. But if you really understand the situation how it is in this moment, a proven 6 is not available in the moment, do we make an excuse for that? During the season a lot of things can happen, it was always the case. We see it as a challenge and try to find a way to be compact anyway.
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“In possession there’s no doubt Curtis can have a massive impact from that position. I think his development in the last few months, since he’s with us is really remarkable. Held back by some injuries in the wrong moment, too long. Nobody’s fault, [it] just happens with young players. Before that the steps he made were really good.
“Having him on the pitch makes sense. In this position, if nobody else is there he can play that definitely.”
Jones set for Fabinho role
What a turnaround it has been for Jones at Liverpool. From looking like potentially being sold this summer, the 22-year-old now finds himself a key man in the Reds’ midfield rebuild.
Having seen five first team midfielders leave the club since the end of last season, Klopp now has just six options available to him.
Of those six, Stefan Bajcetic would look the most naturally defensive. But Bajcetic is just 18. He’s also coming off the back of a pretty lengthy injury. Liverpool shouldn’t rely on the Spaniard, no matter how promising he is.
So, with less than two weeks until Liverpool kick off their Premier League season, Klopp needs to come up with a solution.
Lavia may well end up being brought in, so too might another midfielder. But they’re not going to be up to speed for the Reds visit to Chelsea on August 13th.
With that in mind, Jones would now seem like the obvious candidate. He played well in the role against Leicester City on Sunday and although he could release the ball quicker at times, he does have qualities that suit it.
Dominik Szoboszlai to his left and Alexis Mac Allister to his right would make a totally new look midfield for Liverpool. As things stand, that’s what we’re expecting to see at Stamford Bridge. It may work, it may be a disaster. But either way, Jones has the chance to really make himself key. Go on and take it, Curtis.