SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Jurgen Klopp apologises to Curtis Jones after post-match interview admission

Jurgen Klopp was left to issue a lighthearted apology to Curtis Jones after his fourth goal in the last six games, with the first in the comeback win over Fulham.

Liverpool fought back from an early Willian strike to clinch a 2-1 victory in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.

Jones equalised soon after half-time with a deflected effort, before substitutes Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo combined for the Dutchman to seal the win.

Gakpo and Jones spoke to Sky Sports after the game, with the Scouser reflecting on an “up and down” journey to where he is now.

“It hasn’t been easy. Cody has been here just over a year and he’s even said he’s seen how hard it’s been for myself,” Jones said.

“But I’ve always stuck in there, the mindset was always right: I know I’ve got the ability, I just needed game time.

“I think I’ve shown that, so I hope it continues.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 10, 2024: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With his No. 17 netting four times in his last six appearances, and with six goal contributions in his last nine, he is clearly proving his worth.

And speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live after the game, Klopp gave his reaction to the interview, with a tongue-in-cheek apology.

“Curtis is super, super, super important to us and he knows that,” the manager explained.

“Coincidentally I heard his interview and the only thing to break through was ‘I need more game time’. I love that!

“So, sorry Curtis that I didn’t give you more game time earlier.

“He has made big steps. He looked like the fittest player on the whole pitch. He got a knock, I think a dead leg, he went down, but then a second later he turned around and scored.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 10, 2024: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As Jones attests, his quality and potential have always been known, having excelled as an skilful winger in the academy, but he is now translating that to a key role in the first team.

“A good footballer, very, very good – he always was…but using these skills, he is now, for me, for him, for everybody, thank god, doing it consistently,” Klopp continued.

“That is really cool. He made big steps in defensive things, which gives him a better feeling for the game. Then all of a sudden he can show his quality more.

“It is a joy to have the boy around because he has this natural Scouse confidence and it is really cool.”