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LFC END OF SEASON SALE

Corner turned & Jones role assessed – Last word on Leicester 0-3 Liverpool

The wins keep coming for the Reds as Jurgen Klopp‘s side produced a devastating display coupled with a clean sheet to continue the positive end to the campaign.

It was the Scousers who combined to send a vibrant away end home happy as a Curtis Jones brace and delightful Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick sealed another valuable three points.

Klopp delivered three big trademark fist pumps after the final whistle while Roberto Firmino was rightly serenaded as he nears the end of his glittering eight-year Liverpool career.

Here, Adam Beattie (@beatts94), David Comerford (@Dave_Comerford) and Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) dissect another big night for the Reds.

 

That’s now three in a row on the road, is it too early to say that we’ve turned a corner with our away form?

2R1WBT6 Leicester, UK. 15th May, 2023. Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool urges on the crowd as Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool celebrates scoring their third goal during the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture credit should read: Andrew Yates/Sportimage Credit: Sportimage Ltd/Alamy Live News

ADAM: Why not? If anything we’ve probably been more convincing away from home in this little run than we have at Anfield.

Leicester and Leeds were as close as we’ve looked to our old selves all season and it is such a relief to see.

There are a scary amount of similarities between this season and 2020/21 and I’m hopeful this streak to end the season is what we need to kick on as we did after that.

HENRY: I don’t think it’s too early, no. This Liverpool team look a different animal all of a sudden, and while they aren’t perfect, the different between now and few months ago is huge.

Liverpool are controlling away games so much better now, from Leeds to this one, and it does feel like a massive corner has been turned ahead of next season.

Who knew getting key players fit and others back in confidence made a big difference?

DAVID: I took a look at the home/away tables and Liverpool are up to seventh now, we could even end up fifth if we beat Southampton on the final day and other results go our way.

Considering we were lower mid-table in that department for so long, it does feel like a corner has been turned.

We’ve seen much more professional away performances where the Reds have kept their composure in boisterous atmospheres and then produced the moments of quality needed to settle the game.

 

What do you think has been the big difference in recent weeks?

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, May 15, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAVID: It sounds like the obvious answer, but it’s the change of system. It was clear that Klopp had to do something radical to inspire a sustained improvement before the transfer window, and this was it.

With Trent in midfield, Liverpool are creating more opportunities, limiting the quality of the opposition’s chances and generally controlling games better.

Even beyond Trent, who has been mesmerising, several players have benefitted.

ADAM: Absolutely. I’d even add to that by saying Fabinho now looks more comfortable having the likes of Trent around him.

Confidence is everything and when these players believe in themselves they can genuinely achieve anything.

We’ve seen that plenty of times before and additions in the middle coupled with that new-look forward line could make us a frightening prospect next season.

HENRY: As mentioned, I just think Liverpool are dominating matches so much more, and cutting out the stupid defensive errors. The Trent change has clearly been inspired and he is loving that role.

Not going behind is also key, with the Reds constantly giving themselves needless work to do earlier in the season.

The injuries have largely stopped and key players are purring again, too – Trent, Van Dijk and Fabinho are much more like their former selves – which is always going to be big.

 

Curtis Jones is really starting to look at home in that midfield, how big a role do you think he can play next season even with new signings around?

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, May 15, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HENRY: I think Jones is showing football fans how idiotic they are, quite frankly. And that includes myself.

I’ve given him stick this season, as have plenty of supporters, but he has been given a proper run in the team, found fitness and is reaping the rewards.

Do I think he will be a Liverpool great and a key starter for the next decade? No.

But there is no shame in not being that, and he can be one of those key cogs in the machine, like so many good Reds players were in the 1970s and 1980s.

ADAM: I think availability, rather than ability, has been Jones’ main issue in the last 18 months or so.

It is easy to forget that he has not long turned 22 because he has been around the team for so long and we have seen plenty of occasions where he has looked every inch a first-team midfielder.

Next season is an interesting one. Until recently he has predominantly looked a solid squad option, as you’ve alluded to Henry, but right now it would take a serious footballer to displace him from this side.

DAVID: This is the harsh reality for Jones. We’d all agree he’s in the form of his life right now, but it still looks pretty much nailed-on that he’ll make way for a new left-sided no. 8 ahead of next season.

However, if he’s second-choice behind, say, Alexis Mac Allister, that’s still a big step forward from 12 months ago, and should see him get plenty of game time as a rotation option and substitute.

 

We can’t not talk about that second half reception for Roberto Firmino, are you ready to say goodbye to him yet?

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, May 15, 2023: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino waves to the travelling supporters after the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAVID: The end of his Liverpool career really has crept up, probably because of his injury. I just hope he’s fit enough to play some part against Aston Villa because it would be a huge shame if he couldn’t.

It’s going to be one of the most emotional moments of the Klopp era I think, but the major consolation is that we have Cody Gakpo ready to take over.

He’s becoming better and better in that false nine role, and like his predecessor, he’s a joy to watch.

HENRY: That was special, it really was, both in the second half and after the game.

There are endless heroes at Liverpool during the Klopp era, but for me, Bobby will always be my favourite. I don’t think I’m alone there.

I’m absolutely not ready to say goodbye, and I will probably shed a tear if he comes on this weekend.

ADAM: I found myself getting a bit emotional hearing that on Monday and I’ve not felt that way about a footballer for quite some time.

If there is one arcetypal Klopp player it is him and there is no bigger praise than that really.

I am also keen to find a way to somehow come up with some nice lyrics for James Milner in the next few days, the man is a hero in my eyes!

 

Are we going to make it nine wins from the last nine?

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Monday, May 15, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp waves to the travelling supporters after the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: At this point I’d be surprised if we don’t. Aston Villa could still creep into Europe but Southampton have in reality been down for a while and in this form they shouldn’t be too much of an issue for us.

If we do manage it then it should not be taken for granted, it is some achievement even when things are going well so to put a run like that together when we’re struggling for confidence is even more impressive.

HENRY: I think we are, yes. Although I would say that Aston Villa has the potential to be really sticky.

Southampton away should be straightforward enough, considering they are already relegated, but I do think Villa will be a lot harder than many think.

If we get top four from here, after such a horrendous period, it will be an amazing effort, but either way, I do genuinely believe Liverpool will be right up there again next season, with some key midfield signings made.

DAVID: To be honest, I had been bracing myself for dropped points in one of the last two games.

Brentford are one of the most awkward opponents in the league, and then the Leicester fixture seemed laden with danger because of their situation. But no, Liverpool came through both games confidently.

This weekend will be difficult given that Villa have been one of the best teams in the league since Unai Emery took over, but then you’d hope Southampton are the perfect final-day opponent if Liverpool need a win.