MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates with two-goal hero Curtis Jones (L) after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp explains how Curtis Jones “sets the level” – “It’s a school video!”

Curtis Jones was outstanding in Liverpool’s 4-2 win over Newcastle, with Jurgen Klopp explaining how the midfielder “sets the level” for his team-mates.

Jones returned to the starting lineup for the visit of Newcastle on New Year’s Day, and was one of the candidates for Man of the Match in a dominant display.

Liverpool made headlines for a record-breaking xG tally, including a goal for the No. 17, and it was the way they suffocated Newcastle in their half that allowed them to do so.

Speaking after the game, Klopp lauded Jones’ off-ball work, explaining how he “sets the level” for “how it should look” in a counter-pressing display that was “a school video.”

“Special game, special game from Curtis, to be honest. His high press, his counter-press…” he told reporters.

“We all know how good a player Curtis is, he’s technically incredibly skilled, but he finds more and more direction in his dribbling, he gets better out of situations.

“And his pressing, counter-pressing, meanwhile, he sets the level, actually, how it should look.

“I’m really happy with that. It keeps every player in the game.

“The counter-pressing we played today was absolutely exceptional, absolutely.

“It was [like] a school video, you have to show it [to people] who want to do it.

“A lot of times, people tell me my behaviour is not great and it’s not good for grassroots football – OK, maybe if the grassroots teams want to play counter-press, then watch the video of that game.

“That is really helpful.”

Despite being a local lad from the academy, Jones rarely gets the credit he deserves as part of Klopp’s successful sides, though quite why is a mystery.

Yet to turn 23, with his birthday at the end of January, he has already played 116 times for Liverpool, with 14 goals and 13 assists, though his output is markedly different from his youth days.

While his skill, trickery and eye for goal made him stand out in the academy, now Jones sets the tone for his team-mates off the ball – which Klopp clearly cherishes.