Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones says he has “a point to prove” this season and has played down the arrival of “competition in midfield” in the form of Fabio Carvalho.
Jones, who has gone on tour to Asia alongside new boy Carvalho, is hoping for a big season at Anfield. The 21-year-old had a stop-start season last term, making 27 appearances.
Only 12 of those were starts in the Premier League and Champions League though. And an eye injury was the main reason why Jones’ season was “up and down”.
Things won’t be easier this time around with Carvalho recently arriving from Fulham. The attacking midfielder was a free agent, with Liverpool paying around £5m, plus add-ons in compensation.
Carvalho hit 10 goals and grabbed eight assists in the Championship and it was no wonder Jurgen Klopp tried to land the player in January.
No doubt the 19-year-old will be a rival for a starting role in Klopp’s team this season. But Jones says it’s a “friendly thing”.
“It’s competition in midfield but I don’t see it as that. I see him more as a team-mate – kind of I help him and he helps me and then Hendo helps us or Thiago helps us.
“It’s competition in terms of a space but at the same time, it’s like a friendly thing. There’s no sort of, ‘Ah, he’s playing and I’m not and then I need to completely push him out of the way.’
“It is that a little bit, of course, because you want to go out there and go and play, but I think the competition is alright and it’s just a team-mate thing,” Jones told the club’s website.
Still the local lad is focused again on trying to establish himself this season.
“I see that every time that I’m here or [with] any chance that I get,” the 21-year-old told Liverpoolfc.com. “So game after game or season after season is big,” added Jones.
“I’m ready now and I do think I have a bit of a point to prove.
“[Last season] was up and down. There were games when I played and played well, got a couple of goals and a couple of assists. Of course, I want to add to that.
Curtis Jones sees Man Utd game as a final
“But then I was injured with the eye for five-and-a-half weeks and then I came back and got COVID and then picked up a smaller knock as well.
“It was up and down but now I’m ready.”
Jones is desperate to establish himself under Jurgen Klopp, starting with Tuesday’s date with Liverpool in Bangkok.
Speaking about targets, he said: “And on a personal note, to go in the team, take my chance, keep my place in the team and, of course, score and assist more goals.
“It’s absolutely perfect to start with (Man Utd friendly). For a team like us and [with] a coaching staff that we have, we don’t see it as just a game [where] you can get fit. You’re going out there as if it’s like a final.
“OK, the lads have only just come back no. But it’s a big game in front of loads of fans and the rivalry is there. So we’ll go out there and give them a good game.”