The outstanding development of Curtis Jones is clear for all to see.
He’s made the step-up from talented Academy star to a fully-fledged member of Liverpool’s first team squad and the 19-year-old’s performances under Jurgen Klopp have gone from strength to strength.
The attacking midfielder’s latest performance in the 7-2 Carabao Cup victory against Lincoln last Thursday was superb and he is expected to start against Arsenal in the fourth round of the competition tonight.
Clearly, having worked hard at Melwood to hone his ability the confident youngster is deserving of his place but he is also keen to make more regular appearances for the Premier League champions.
And the teenager may well find himself being handed more game time this term, given Klopp’s want to “have fun” with him and the huge amount of games coming the Reds’ way.
Liverpool’s assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders was asked how the club found a balance between unleashing Jones and making sure he realises that with patience his time will come.
“One of the biggest strengths of this squad is that everybody respects each other’s role,” the Dutchman said.
“Even if you are starting in a match or coming on, everybody knows the importance of each other and the character in this group is outstanding, which helps of course.
“Each member of staff and each player respects you and knows how important you are, a banana skin is that a young player wants to go too early or too soon.
“The way we balance that is by making sure everything is done in the right moments, at the right timing with the right players around and by giving opportunities in this way, it creates unbelievable progress which we saw last year – Curtis is a good example of that.”
After the signing of Thiago Alcantara for Bayern Munich this summer, which provided more competition for Liverpool in an already well-stocked midfield, Klopp explained that he wasn’t “worried” and “could not keep a player happy” by himself.
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A £20m+ deal has brought the midfielder to Anfield, and he’s ready to kick on for Jurgen Klopp.
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The Reds boss did explain, however, that it was his job to “show the players how important they are in pretty much every moment” and Lijnders reiterated that ahead of Liverpool’s fourth round match with Arsenal in the Carabao Cup on Thursday night.
Liverpool’s assistant manager said: “It’s the environment we all create, from our canteen to our medical unit.
“Everyone feels 100% appreciated and everybody wants to help each player.
“You don’t have a difference between a young talent of 17 who comes in here or a 33-year-old player that’s already established.
“I think it’s a very healthy environment that there are no differences between players if you’re starting or not.
“Everyone gets the same treatment and attention – that makes it healthy.
“I think we are using the squad really well by using rotation, but at the same time keeping our collectiveness to make sure everybody feels needed.
“That’s why we always said we don’t want a big squad with loads of players because everybody should constantly feel like they are needed because they are needed – just look closely over this last year.”