Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones has not played a minute of competitive action this season. But that does not mean that he should be forgotten about.
For the opening three matches of the campaign,
it has been Harvey Elliott that has been the talk of Liverpool’s starlets. was the same during pre-season, with a little bit of Kaide Gordon thrown in.
It’s just goes to show how quickly things can change in football that Curtis Jones has almost been forgotten about.
That, partly, is down to him missing the victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road through concussion protocols,
having been forced him off early in the Anfield friendly with Osasuna the previous Monday.
Jones was back on the bench for the game with Burnley but was not required to play a single minute,
and then dropped out of the squad altogether for the fixture with Chelsea — as did James Milner and Divock Origi.
It has not been the easiest start, then, for the 20-year-old,
who was laughably linked with a £15m exit just a few days ago (even Transfermarkt,
a site known for their extremely conservative valuations — just £67.5m for Trent Alexander-Arnold,
for instance — value Jones at £27m).
Last season, playing a more defensive number eight role that Jones has never played before,
he well exceeded expectations, playing a total of 1920 minutes. Jones has already made 47 senior appearances for Liverpool in all.
An elite Liverpool talent has been forgotten, as Harvey Elliott and Kaide Gordon take centre stage
The idea that he would no longer be valued highly at Anfield, then,
is strange — an indictment of the short-term thinking and knee-jerk reactions within modern football.
There is still a question over where Jones’ best position is. Jürgen Klopp and Pep Lijnders appear to be moulding him into a Gini Wijnaldum-type midfield player,
but his best moments at youth level came on the left of the front three or as a number 10.
Combining the two positions and continuing to develop as he is would make him a useful player to Klopp
and Liverpool, and his chance will come sooner rather than later.
At the latest, it will come in three weeks against Norwich City in the EFL Cup,
but before then there will be plenty of changes with Leeds United, AC Milan and Crystal Palace in quick succession,
and Brentford and FC Porto to follow the trip to Carrow Road.
It remains entirely realistic that Jones could record a similar number of minutes this season as he did last,
which would represent progress in itself for a player so young.
It was said plenty of times last season that had Jones performed for Ajax against
Liverpool as he did for the Reds against Erik ten Hag’s side,
plenty of Reds fans would be demanding a £50m transfer move.
Establishing himself at senior level at Anfield over the next few months remains realistic for Jones,
and he will be backing himself to do just that.
Elliott and Gordon remain top prospects. But Jones should fall into the same category too — and his talent should not be forgotten.