Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp have found a new £50m midfielder

Curtis Jones of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield on December 06, 2020 in Liverpool, England.

Liverpool's injury troubles have had few positives in the early months of the season, with Virgil van Dijk just one player who has been missing, but the full emergence of 19-year-old midfielder Curtis Jones has certainly been one of them.

The Toxteth-born teenager, who made his Premier League bow exactly a year ago today, has taken more huge steps forward since last season, developing his game to become an all-round midfielder.

He now has the typical characteristics of the kind of tactically and technically perfect player that Jurgen Klopp loves, not least shown in his display against Wolves on Sunday night, where he, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson helped Liverpool dominate.

It is easy to forget, though, in a world where transfers are often deemed to be make or break for clubs, seemingly more important than winning matches in some quarters, that Liverpool have a special player on their hands.

Jones might not be a big-money signing, but he has certainly been making an impact this season having now firmly moved up into being a senior player at Anfield.

As Dan Morgan said on the Liverpool.com podcast: "There was loads of talk after the Ajax game around some of the Ajax players and how they churn out [young stars from their academy].

"If Curtis Jones is at any other club in Europe, he is going for £50m. If he is outside the Premier League, he is a £50m player and everyone is saying ‘who is this kid and where has he come from?’.

"I think it’s easy to forget about what Liverpool have already got when you are constantly looking around at others. I like that he doesn’t try and run himself into the ground - he is very confident in his own ability and he technically backs himself.

"That is where they have tried to work with him and they have said they had no issues with him in the final third of the pitch, but they have tried to work with him going backwards.

"It is showing and there is loads of maturity. He’s [doing things like] going over to help Neco Williams, who is the same age, but he looks every inch the senior pro."

£50m was the cost of the new first-team training centre that was an extension of the existing Academy site in Kirkby, so there is an argument that by discovering and nurturing Jones, the cost of that development has already been taken care of.

Long-term, the hope is that there will be plenty more examples of players stepping up from the Reds' youth system, now with that jump, in literal, physical terms, just a stone's throw away.

In the meantime, though, as Neco Williams, Leighton Clarkson, Jake Cain and co vie to be the next player in line to establish themselves as vital squad members for Klopp, Jones is certainly the furthest down that line.

As Joel Rabinowitz added: "Our expectations have all been warped by Trent Alexander-Arnold because he has come in and nailed down a first-team place and become the best right-back in the world, but that is not how it usually works with young players.

"What we have seen from Jones this season is night and day compared to where he was, even earlier this calendar year when he scored against Everton in the FA Cup and played the game against Shrewsbury Town.

"Jones is a different player now, so much more tactically switched on, and his off-the-ball work, I have been staggered at how much he has stepped forward in his development.

"He understands what it means to be a Liverpool midfielder in the system.

"His natural ability has never been in doubt but there is a lot of other stuff, as we have seen with Keita and Fabinho, to incorporate into your game if you are going to become a regular in this team.

"He has had to do that even quicker than he would have expected this season."

Really just four months into his senior career, Jones has a lot more developing to do yet. But the signs are certainly there in the early stages that even better things are to come.

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