Liverpool News

With total envy, Klopp has created a superstar for Reds and Guardiola wants him

Liverpool have created their own Bernardo Silva under Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola would surely love it.

By Charles Cornwall

Liverpool have created their own Bernardo Silva under Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola would surely love it.
Liverpool have created their own Bernardo Silva under Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola would surely love it.
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There can be no doubt about it: the Liverpool midfield this season compared to last could not be much more different. Jürgen Klopp was able to transform that part of the field in the transfer market over the summer but the reality is that someone already at the club has made at least as much difference. Spending around £147mto sign Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endō and Ryan Gravenberch was a necessity, but so too was getting Curtis Jones fit again. The Liverpool number 17 went off injured against Bournemouth but the Reds will be hoping that is not something that will keep him out for long.

This season, Liverpool has still only lost one game of importance. That late defeat against Spurs came when the Reds were down to nine men and had been robbed of a legitimate goal by an unprecedented VAR error. Jones started there but was sent off for a similar challenge to the Justin Kluivert one on Luis Díaz this weekend that was not even deemed a foul in real-time. Aside from that blemish on Liverpool's record, which came with a significant asterisk, Liverpool has been a different team this season. Chiefly, that has been because it has re-established midfield control. Where last season Klopp's men looked jaded in midfield to put it kindly, this season, they look back to their dominant best.

Jones has been a key component in that. Compared to midfielders in the rest of Europe's top five leagues, he ranks in the 97th percentile for pass completion and also for touches in the opposition penalty area. Put simply, Jones is helping Liverpool keep possession, but he is also a threat in the final third: he is in the 91st percentile for assists and progressive carries and the 92nd for non-penalty goals. It is that kind of duel threat that makes him ideal for the football that Liverpool wants to play. When Klopp is unable to select the midfielder, it really shows.

Once known for counter-attacking, so-called Heavy Metal football, Klopp is now much more controlled in his playing style. Liverpool is much closer to the Pep Guardiola way of thinking now, with dominance favored over thrilling end-to-end action. One of Guardiola's favorites, Bernardo Silva, is the third most statistically similar player to Jones according to FBref's model and the similarities are clear. Silva, like Jones, is someone who can control things intelligently from all areas, knowing expertly when to put his foot down and play the killer ball.

Carefully molded

Still derided by some, Jones is the exact type of player that Guardiola would love to have in his team. Instead, Liverpool has carefully molded that kind of midfielder at Anfield, with Klopp's patience paying off. Jones was once a more exciting and flair-based attacking midfielder, but the Liverpool man is far more effective now. Just as Bernardo Silva did for a while, his performances are currently quietly going under the radar but they won't for long.