MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

Jurgen Klopp wants Curtis Jones quip on academy walls after position change

Jurgen Klopp has enjoyed his continual references to Curtis Jones‘ growth, and he now wants it in writing after the midfielder was tasked with playing at right-back against Burnley.

Jones has been a reliable option for his manager this season and has currently played the 12th-most minutes of any player (1,653), predominantly in midfield.

However, injury absences have seen him move both into defence and attack on a handful of occasions.

With no right-back alternative against Burnley, it was the 23-year-old who dropped back in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold, and it’s no wonder after Klopp’s praise earlier this year.

“If Curtis Jones can learn defending, everybody can learn defending!” Klopp proclaimed in January, and the No. 17 did an admirable job in the second half on Saturday, not putting a foot wrong.

And now Klopp wants that reference to the Toxteth native to adorn the walls of the academy, the place where it all started for Jones.

“Now, definitely, on the wall in the academy, we will draw (write) if ‘Curtis Jones can learn defending, anyone can learn defending’,” Klopp told NBC Sports.

“He did incredibly well there.”

It is a nod to how highly Klopp regards Jones and his development since making his debut in 2019, and 124 games later he is a key cog in the Reds’ midfield.

On moving the midfielder into defence on Saturday, Klopp explained: “We told Curtis what he had to do and we changed formation slightly and tried to make it as simple as possible for him.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's Luis Díaz (L) celebrates with team-mates Curtis Jones (C) and Wataru End? (R) after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It was first time in the life he has played the position and we didn’t want him to be the inverted right-back and have to think about these things as well.”

Klopp was not quite accurate when saying it was Jones’ “first time” at right-back – he played there against Leicester in the League Cup this season – but there was an obvious need to simplify the role.

If Burnley ever thought it to be a weakness, they were quickly proven wrong.