Jordan Henderson hailed Curtis Jones following his star turn against Porto, while Jurgen Klopp urged the 20-year-old to “keep going” as he seizes his Liverpool chance.
Jones made his third consecutive start for the Reds as they visited the Estadio do Dragao on Tuesday night, following strong displays against Norwich and Brentford.
Having caught the eye against the newly promoted sides, however, the midfielder stepped it up massively in the Champions League, laying on four goals in a 5-1 rout.
After a goal from the bench at Brentford, Klopp outlined consistency as Jones’ biggest flaw as a young player, but speaking after the win in Portugal, Henderson was full of praise for his team-mate’s maturity.
“Curtis has been fantastic,” the captain told BT Sport.
“I know on paper he’s so young, but I feel as though he’s been around the first team for a few years now, he’s settled in really well, he’s matured really well.
“Now you’re starting to see what a good player he is over the last few weeks.
“He’s had to be a little bit patient at the beginning of the season, but he’s come in and done fantastically well.
“You can see he’s got all the attributes to be a top player.
“But I feel as though he’s maturing all the time and he’s putting in some really good performances to help the team.”
In his post-match press conference, Klopp revealed that Jones had suffered with stomach problems in the buildup to kickoff, but was ultimately pleased he could field his No. 17.
“The doctor came into my room and told me we needed to keep an eye on him, but I told him after the game: ‘Whatever it is, keep it!’,” the manager joked.
“It was really a good game. He played a really good game, he was everywhere, involved in everything, set up the first goal with a surprising finish – the goalie couldn’t save it – was in a lot of other situations really there.
“[While] maybe not as spectacular as all the offensive stuff, he played defensively a top-class game, he defended really well, pressed on the blindside.
“I liked a lot of things about his performance, so let’s keep going Curtis – not bad tonight!”