The disruptive conclusion to the 2019/20 Premier League campaign has benefited few, if any at all. What could be a premature ending to the season may well hinder the chance for some of the impressive young talent at Liverpool to continue their growth.
This season it has been blatantly apparent that Jürgen Klopp has the upmost faith in his young Reds, having provided numerous opportunities for academy products to broadcast their ability in the first-team setup.
Much speculation had suggested that opportunities may have been at a premium for the more inexperienced players within the first-team squad to continue their growth. Such speculation had risen following a dismal loss against Watford, which left the potential for several records in tatters.
One player who appeared in line to capitalise on such an opportunity was Curtis Jones.
The 19-year-old has been no stranger to Klopp’s first-team setup in recent times, despite his tender age. A player raised close to Anfield became an instant hero after curling a sumptuous effort into the top corner against Merseyside rivals Everton.
It is not just his ability that impresses, but also his maturity and composure. A well-taken penalty against Arsenal, for example, set up a Carabao Cup quarter final match for his side.
Despite just two appearances in the Premier League this season, both from the bench, Jones has proven himself to be a fine asset in his appearances in the fringe competitions. The midfielder has been a stand-out performer in sides stacked with youth and has contributed to three goals in six first-team appearances.
It is evident that Jones is still a raw talent that must be nurtured with the right guidance into the first team line-up, but there is no better manager for the job than Klopp — the German’s record of improving players with a mix of talent and hard work to create superstars speaks for itself, and these are attributes that Jones has in abundance.
For such a raw prospect, he is an elegant player who can catch the eye in any game given the opportunity and one who has proven himself more than worthy of an opportunity on the big stage.
Jones has turned out 14 times in the Premier League 2 this season, producing as many goal contributions with nine goals and five assists. The numbers perhaps suggest he ready to step up a level — you would think his performances when called upon for the first team this season have only enhanced his chances of featuring further next season.
It now appears funding for big-money transfers may be hard to come this summer due to the coronavirus’ effect on businesses and economies. At such a time, Jones’ emergence may prove just as valuable as a new signing.