Liverpool: Ian Doyle backs Curtis Jones to start
Liverpool should start Curtis Jones in the Merseyside Derby if Thiago is injured, according to Ian Doyle.
The Lowdown: Merseyside Derby
Jurgen Klopp could be set for one of the biggest Merseyside Derbies of his Liverpool tenure with the Reds sat in tenth following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw against West Ham United, offering the chance to leapfrog them.
Whilst at the other end of the table Sean Dyche will be looking to turn up the heat on the German with a win seeing Everton climb out of the relegation zone after the new boss beat Premier League leaders Arsenal in his first game in charge.
A livewire atmosphere is expected on Monday night with this derby proving key in both sides’ seasons as they both struggle to reach the expectations this campaign that the fans demand.
The Latest: Doyle’s comments
Speaking on Blood Red, Doyle suggested that the Reds could deploy a wildcard option in midfield who has proved in the past he can handle the fixture, should Thiago be absent after Klopp admitted he’d been unable to train, Doyle said:
(33:24) “You’ve got someone like Curtis Jones, who loves playing in this game, he’s got a winner in the past.”
“I think the time has come given how the midfield has not been functioning properly, if Thiago’s not fit, I said it the other week that he should be playing, he’s left footed, he has to be on the left hand side.”
“Anything’s going to be better than what’s been going on recently, so the legs and a bit of you know, with Curtis Jones, he’s obviously a local lad, he’ll be quite keen to make an impression.”
The Verdict: Jones to start?
Liverpool’s midfield has been a troubling position this season for Klopp and Thiago’s absence as their brightest spark in the engine room, with him averaging the third highest rating at the club (via WhoScored), is a real worry.
Jones’ lack of minutes throughout the entirety of the campaign is a huge concern for the 22-year-old who has found his career at Anfield stagnating, with him appearing just eight times in the league and Champions League so far, only two of them starts.
It could prove a risk bringing a player who’s featured just 15 minutes in the league since the World Cup into the engine room after Everton’s incredible showing against Arsenal, which saw all five midfielders break into the top seven for distance covered in a single match (via Sky Sports), showing how energetic Dyche is making his Toffees side.
This could be a worry on the unlikely fully fit Jones despite having positive memories over the fixture after scoring a show-stopping FA Cup winner against Everton back in 2020.