Liverpool have turned down a number of loan offers for Curtis Jones over the years, with Jurgen Klopp explaining that he could learn more by staying on Merseyside.
Jones has long been regarded one of the finest talents in the Reds’ academy, having found himself fast-tracked through the ranks as he continued to post the numbers in front of goal.
The midfielder will turn 21 at the end of January, and recently hit the 50-appearance mark for the first team, as part of an impressive run in the starting lineup.
His performance in the 5-1 win over Porto in midweek was arguably his best so far in a Liverpool shirt, and Jones is now expected to keep his place for Sunday’s clash with Man City.
That he is entrusted to play in these big games is partly informed by his years training under Klopp, rather than spending time out on loan.
Liverpool turned down early approaches from clubs in League One, before a two-year offer from RB Leipzig was rejected and, more recently, a loan enquiry from Leeds was swiftly rebuffed.
“People have asked me a hundred times, ‘can he go on loan? What about going there to get more match practice?’. No, let him be here,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
“That’s the good thing about being really committed to the club as a young boy. He will maybe not have 30, 40 games a season at 18 or 19 but he can still learn so much.
“I didn’t want to let him go to play maybe 30 games in League One.
“I wanted him here so that he learns our football. And that’s what he did.”
Jones broke through as an exciting attacking midfielder, equally as effective on the wing, but now he has slotted in as a more conservative option with the ability to create magic when the opportunity presents itself.
He is remarkably well-rounded for a player of his age, and Klopp credits that with the time spent honing his craft at Melwood and now Kirkby.
“You can learn that off-the-ball work when you stay here because we insist so much on it,” he continued.
“For a No. 10, who for all his youth was involved always on the ball, to get that into your DNA is not easy. It needs time.
“It’s our job to give him all the information we can about the game – offensive, defensive – but when you are around the first team at 17, you have more time to absorb it.
“I’m really happy we’re now seeing the results on the pitch.”
It is telling that the majority of those youngsters who have cemented themselves as regular options for Klopp’s senior side have not been sent out on loan – with Harvey Elliott a special exception.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Caoimhin Kelleher and Neco Williams are among those to have reaped the benefits rather than take time in the Football League.
Instead, the prospect of working under Klopp, assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders and elite development coach Vitor Matos every day is proven to be a more effective method.