Connect with us


Liverpool’s “special” star who cost £53m, is now Klopp’s own Bernardo Silva…



Liverpool’s “special” star who cost £53m, is now Klopp’s own Bernardo Silva

Now valued at £52m, this talented ace has emerged as one of the club’s most underrated player

Liverpool were at a crossroads last summer after falling by the wayside across a challenging 2022/23 campaign, facing the ominous unknown after failing to qualify for the Champions League with a fifth-place Premier League finish.

A late-stage purple patch did spark hope back into the red half of Merseyside, with the sapped midfield expected to undergo heavy transformation after reaching the end of its battery.

Sweeping changes were made and now the Reds are marching toward success once more, with Jurgen Klopp’s masterful work in the transfer market rekindling the club’s stature and ability to contest the almost-infallible Manchester City for the league crown.

Liverpool are top of the table; the Carabao Cup final looms, Chelsea seeking a resurgence of their own; soon after Anfield will host second-tier Southampton in the FA Cup and Klopp’s side are favourites to triumph in the Europa League.

Much is changing at the club and Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch have refashioned the engine room into a silverware-chasing machine, but while many struggling stars were shipped on, some have remained to continue their journey.

Harvey Elliott is a quality talent and offers creativity like none other, while Thiago Alcantara, always-injured he may be, remains and there is hope that the silky Spaniard will grace the pitch before season’s end.

Curtis Jones, who is starting to shine as one of Klopp’s most important cogs, might just be the pick of the bunch though, criminally underrated and ever-improving in the Liverpool midfield.

Cast back to January 2020. Liverpool were thriving as Champions League winners, en route to Premier League glory after a jaw-dropping start to the season.

Jones was yet to wedge his way into Klopp’s plans with regularity but he did announce himself as a future star under the Anfield lights, curling in an absolute peach against Everton in the FA Cup third round to send his side through.

Fast track to the present and the Englishman has amassed 125 senior appearances for Liverpool, scoring 16 goals and supplying 14 assists, having won a host of major honours.

Said to have “all the attributes of a top player” by former captain Jordan Henderson, Jones was fielded as an attacking midfielder throughout his youth but has since been moulded into a technically proficient and controlled centre-midfielder, with an intelligent approach and crisp passing to provide the metronomic fluency in the centre of the park.

Last year, with Liverpool struggling for form, Jones was blemished by the injury problems that have hindered him throughout much of his fledgling phase on Merseyside, but the 23-year-old came into his own in the late phase and started each of Liverpool’s final 11 matches in the top-flight.

Jones scored three goals and placed an assist during this excellent turnaround that salvaged Europa League football and set the framework for this year’s exploits, and he is now thriving at the core of the Anfield side’s success.

Jones recently picked up an injury during Liverpool’s 4-1 victory at Brentford and is likely to be sidelined for the foreseeable, with trepidation rife as Liverpool await the extent of the ankle injury that caused him to leave the Gtech Community Stadium in protective gear.

Nonetheless, he’s been terrific this season and has clinched five goals and three assists from only 20 starts across all competitions, though it is his “phenomenal” ability to retain possession and match intelligence, as has been said by BBC Sports’ Raj Chohan, that has elevated him to prominent standing under Klopp’s leadership.

As per Sofascore, the 6 foot 1 midfielder has completed 91% of his passes in the Premier League this term, averaging 1.2 tackles, 3.0 successful duels and 3.5 ball recoveries per match while succeeding with 59% of his dribbles.

According to CIES Football Observatory’s valuation model, Jones is currently valued at £52m, and given that he was signed for a grand fee of zilch, nurtured through the academy ranks, Liverpool can only revel in such a successful stroke of good fortune.

As per FBref, Jones ranks among the top 12% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for goals, the top 13% for assists, the top 4% for pass completion, the top 8% for progressive carries, the top 14% for successful take-ons and the top 4% for touches in the attacking penalty area per 90, hailed for his “truly special” skill set by one eagle-eyed analyst.

He’s compared to some of Europe’s most talented midfielders and, interestingly, he is cut from the same cloth as Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, who is so influential under Pep Guardiola’s wing.

After the Portugual international penned a new deal at the Etihad Stadium at the start of the season, director of football Txiki Begiristain was full of praise for such a pivotal cog in the City machine.

He said: “Bernardo has been exceptional during his time at the Etihad, so we’re delighted that he has signed a contract extension with the Club.

“His quality and technical ability is fantastic – and alongside his hard work and professionalism, he has become one of the best players in the world.”

Silva is one of the most elegant players in the business and ranks among the top 8% of midfielders for shot-creating actions, the top 1% for progressive carries and touches in the attacking penalty area and the top 11% for successful take-ons per 90.

Like Jones, the 29-year-old is not defined by his goals and assists but rather by his erudite knowledge at the centre of the web, weaving and engineering passages and patterns that define the way his team play.

Liverpool’s star-studded squad is brimming with exciting talent, and while the likes of Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Darwin Nunez stand tall as the salient, eye-catching figures, Jones’ work in the centre is so important to the fluidity.

There has been much noise surrounding Jota’s injury woe after a nightmare day on the injury front at Brentford, but Jones’ absence will be just as big a blow, disrupting the harmony in this title-chasing team.