Liverpool have enjoyed an extremely productive transfer window this summer.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have splurged around £170m on the likes of Fabinho and Alisson, who became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he completed his £65m move to Anfield from Roma last week.
Their ill-fated pursuit of Nabil Fekir proved a disappointment, but the powers that be on Merseyside have certainly given their supporters much to be excited about ahead of a new Premier League season in which they are expected to challenge Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City for the title.
But for all of the tens of millions clubs throw at big-name signings, little inspires fans more than when a local lad rises through the ranks.
The success of Liverpool’s academy graduates has varied in recent seasons, but the potential of Curtis Jones suggests he will likely follow the lead of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who capatalised on Nathaniel Clyne’s prolonged absence last term.
A creative central midfielder with an eye for goal, Jones flourished under the guidance of Steven Gerrard for Liverpool’s Under-18’s last season before becoming a regular for the club’s Under-23 side.
A senior Reds debut has not yet materialised for the England youth international, but he has certainly given Klopp some food for thought with his displays in pre-season, most notably in the 3-1 defeat by Borussia Dortmund.
Against established performers such as Nuri Sahin and Mahmoud Dahoud, Jones kept things ticking over in the middle of the park, made a number of intelligent runs down the left and proved he is capable of carrying out the aggressive pressing style that defines Klopp’s idea of play.
Comparisons with former mentor Gerrard are premature, but those close to the club have seen similarities with the Rangers boss in Jones, whose local roots have clearly left an impression on Klopp.
“Curtis is a proper Scouser… he is not shy to say a few things and probably that’s a surprise for one or two players!” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website. “It’s easy, he accepts the rules of the group, there is no doubt about that.
“Football-wise, he of course stepped up, that’s how it is. He is a tall boy but still very mobile, good at dribbling and stuff like that, but now we need to make sure he finds the right moment to pass the ball – and dribbling is not for dribbling, it’s to change the situation in a better way and then to pass the ball.
“But it’s easier to train that than to show somebody how to dribble, which is quite natural. It’s cool. Physical-wise [he is good] and has talent as well, but there is a long way to go.”
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