NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 30, 2020: Liverpool’s Curtis Jones (L) and Trent Alexander-Arnold before the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James’ Park. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Curtis Jones applauds “real fans” with New Year message after social media abuse

Curtis Jones has hit back at mindless criticism of his recent performances for Liverpool, sending a New Year message to the “real fans” heading into 2021.

It was a stunning year for Liverpool in general, but for Jones, 2020 marked when he made his genuine breakthrough at Anfield, with a number of memorable moments.

He began the year with his stunning Merseyside derby winner in the FA Cup, before going on to become the club’s youngest-ever captain in the fourth-round replay win over Shrewsbury.

Then came, obviously, the Premier League title win, with Jones picking up a winner’s medal having featured six times in the league, before building on this by establishing himself as a regular starter this season.

However, increased exposure unfortunately brings increased scrutiny, and the 19-year-old has come in for criticism for his displays in draws with West Brom and Newcastle.

Jones was one of Liverpool’s top performers for much of the game against West Brom, but his dallying in possession led to the corner that teed up the Baggies’ equaliser, and over-the-top abuse was sent his way on social media.

Sending his New Year message to supporters on Thursday night, the midfielder praised “real fans,” in a clear reference to his critics:

Jones is right to call out his detractors as not genuine supporters, as it is ridiculous to single out the midfielder to such an extent given the level of his performances in a demanding position.

Though not impervious to criticism, no player is deserving of abuse, with the situation recalling the focus on his fellow academy graduate Neco Williams earlier in the season.

After the young right-back was forced to ‘black out’ his Twitter page in September, assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders responded by saying: “You’re not a Liverpool supporter if you don’t support.”

Liverpool's Curtis Jones (no.17) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with Neco Williams during the UEFA Champions League Group D match at Anfield, Liverpool.

Adam Lallana echoed this by calling out “keyboard warriors” for their “ridiculous” criticism, while Jurgen Klopp later praised him for an improved run of form following a “long talk,” with both Williams and Jones shining in the 1-0 win over Ajax in December.

It has been continually highlighted during his rise from the youth ranks that Jones has no shortage of confidence, and it appears he is in a stronger position to address the recent abuse than Williams was.

All power to Liverpool’s No. 17 for hitting back at those who are clearly not “real fans” of the club.