Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones insists that he does not feel a crucial part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans amid the Reds’ easing midfield injury concerns.
The 19-year-old has made 17 appearances this term, benefitting from a number of senior injuries.
What’s more, Fabinho has dropped back to defence to cover for injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Jones has proved an important part of Klopp’s team with his recent run, featuring in 10 Premier League games. The Englishman has also played four Champions League games.
Reds boss Klopp has given his staunch backing to Jones, insisting that he is a vital part of his squad. Jones, though, does not feel the same way with the likes of Thiago Alcantara soon to come back into the fold.
“I’ve improved a lot [in 2020] but the person that I am and the player that I think I can become, I still wouldn’t really say that I’m an established first-team player yet,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“People like Mo [Salah], Sadio [Mane], Hendo [Jordan Henderson] – I think they’re the ones that I would count as established players, who know that they are going to play every week. For someone like me, I’m gaining experience.
“There’s been a few injuries around so I’ve been called upon and I’ve taken my chance well.
“But players are coming back now so I just have to keep performing well and keep giving the gaffer and the staff something to think about – and hopefully he can keep me in and around the team.”
Jones has benefitted from Henderson, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Thiago spending time on the sidelines.
Liverpool had hoped to welcome September signing Thiago back into the squad for Wednesday’s trip to Newcastle.
But after over two months out with a knee injury, Klopp told his pre-match press conference (via Liverpoolfc.com) that the Spaniard is unlikely to travel to St James’ Park.
Nevertheless, Liverpool have also welcomed Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain back into the team.
Jones addresses West Brom error
One of only few blights on Jones’ record this season came in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with West Brom. The midfielder gave the ball away in his own half, leading to the corner from which the Baggies scored their equaliser.
Jones said: “The player that I am, I like to take risks.
“Maybe I took one in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I’m a young lad, I’m learning and I took it on the chin, I’ll bounce back well.”