Liverpool 2 – 1 Fulham – EFL Cup Semifinal 1st Leg Man of the Match
I recall writing an article almost a year ago, where I was hoping to see Curtis Jones ushered into the side, one which was struggling and falling apart. So many former Liverpool midfielders were looking old and tired, therefore, I was eager to see valuable minutes attributed to those that could become a part of the upcoming regeneration. Despite my faith in the young academy graduate, this season’s (and the latter of last year) form and the most recent clutch of games, have been spectacular from the number 17.
Curtis Jones, again.
47/48 passes (98%)
One chance created
Four attempted dribbles pic.twitter.com/rNTYvQC2qi
— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) January 10, 2024
Team Dynamics and Player Contributions
To have departed the hectic Christmas and New Year’s period with so much hope for this season is truly remarkable, especially in year one of the reshaping. A few days ago, I wrote how Ibrahima Konaté had been amazing in his game against Arsenal, which was a brilliant display. Virgil, Alisson Becker, Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander Arnold, Dominik Szoboszlai, Joe Gomez, Diogo Jota, Darwin Núñez, Luis Díaz, Jarell Quansah, and Curtis Jones, have all produced man of the match displays this season, which is the variation that success demands. The thing that is most impressive is that a completely new midfield is now starting to flourish, despite the mass changes in personnel and the ongoing system alterations. What has been carried over from Liverpool v1.0, is the supreme intelligence that once epitomised the game of Georginio Wijnaldum. The ability to keep possession, recycle ball, cover ground, and offer support to his teammates, is being perfectly replicated by the man whom I have once again awarded Man of the Match in this evening’s win over Fulham. The goal contributions are clearly a bonus, as the attacking side of Curtis’ game rises as and when his manager needs that extra drive.
Jones’ Impact on the Game
Though the first half was frustrating, you always felt that the overall control and ability of this group would carry the team through. With so many senior players having departed and others currently unavailable, the soon to be 23-year-old Jones, is very much taking up a senior persona in this v2.0 world, which must surely soon see him immersed into the full England squad.
The overall impact tonight was of the highest order, whereas the goal scored was tremendous. Curtis Jones is not just a player that will rotate or back other players up anymore, he is now the first central midfielder on the team sheet, which is a reward due to his continuous development and outstanding performances.
Looking Ahead: Second Leg and Beyond
Second leg to come, after a much-needed break and a Premier League trip to Bournemouth.
Curtis Jones: "I've been around the team since I've been 17. The journey has been up and down, but you know, I've always stuck in there and the mindset is always there. I've got the ability and just needed the game time." pic.twitter.com/fiOVZmvymA
— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) January 10, 2024
Pre-match Prediction: Liverpool 3 – 1 Fulham