The midfield situation at Liverpool has been a subject of discussion throughout the season. Despite the signings of Thiago Alcântara and Fabio Carvalho, it is likely that Liverpool will heavily invest in this department during the upcoming summer. We spoke with Liverpool legend John Barnes to evaluate whether Liverpool already have a potential solution to their midfield issues.
Curtis Jones’ Liverpool revival
Liverpool’s recent improvement in form, resulting in five consecutive league victories, has coincided with the consistent presence of a certain midfielder in Klopp’s lineup. Curtis Jones, a somewhat overlooked player, has become a reliable choice in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield.
Despite being linked with several midfielders such as Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Alexis Mac Alister, and Moises Caicedo, Liverpool may not need to spend as much money if Jones maintains his current level of performance. Barnes emphasises Jones’ skill in carrying the ball as one of his key strengths as a midfielder.
“Curtis is comfortable on the ball and he travels well with the ball.”
“Whilst Curtis tends to travel more with the ball, Thiago is now more of a passer.”
‘He works hard and he’s been in the first team for three or four years so he understands the way Klopp wants to play.”
Jones’ resilience impresses Barnes
The academy graduate has started seven consecutive league games, during which Liverpool have won five and drawn twice. This run of form has come at a crucial time in the season as Liverpool aims to narrow the gap on the top four and secure a spot in the Champions League for the next season. Barnes commends Jones for persevering through a period when Liverpool supporters may have questioned his presence in the team.
“He’s done well in the last three or four games alongside Gakpo so he’s one that I’m pleased with.”
“He’s a local boy, from the academy who has come in for some stick but he’s played well. He’s young, and the better the team players the better he plays.”
“What Curtis Jones has done hasn’t surprised me. He may not be the first name on the team sheet but we know what he can do when called upon.”
Phillips is exactly what Liverpool are looking for
Kalvin Phillips is also rumoured to be leaving Man City after spending a season on the bench. West Ham is reportedly considering a potential swoop for the England international as a replacement for the departing Declan Rice. However, Barnes envisions a surprising move for Phillips to join Liverpool, City’s league rivals, instead.
“The way Liverpool play would suit Phillips equally to the way he suits City.”
“He’s not playing at City for the moment but that doesn’t make him a bad footballer.”
‘He’s played for England and profile wise he is the kind of player Liverpool are looking for.”
“I think it would be a good move for both parties.”
Thiago’s injury woes
Recently, it was announced that Thiago Alcântara will be sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a minor hip operation. As a result, he will miss the remaining league matches against Leicester City, Aston Villa, and Southampton. Thiago’s time at Anfield has been plagued by injuries, preventing Liverpool fans from witnessing the full potential of the Spanish midfield maestro. There is ongoing conversation among the Liverpool fanbase about whether it’s time to part ways with Thiago due to his recurring injury problems. However, Barnes believes that even if Liverpool were to let go of Thiago, they would still require reinforcements in the midfield.
“It’s not a question of moving on from him because he hasn’t played much and he’s still contracted so he’s a Liverpool player.”
“He’s still a Liverpool player and even if Thiago is fit we still need midfield players. End of story.
“It’s an area we have to improve upon.”