Liverpool have had a plethora of wonderfully gifted central midfielders down the years, but not one of them possesses a demi-god-like reputation on Merseyside quite like Steven Gerrard.
The likes of Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Jordan Henderson are all central-midfield players who thrived, and are continuing to thrive at Liverpool.
A midfield trio containing three of Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Emre Can formed the basis of their journey to the Champions League final last season, and summer recruits Naby Keita and Fabinho have added an extra dimension to the strength of their options.
However, not one of the aforementioned players rose through the ranks at Liverpool like Gerrard did in the late 90s after establishing a glowing reputation at academy level.
In a modern era dominated by super rich investors and short-term thinking, it’s unlikely that there will ever be an academy player to achieve the legendary status which Gerrard unquestionably commands in the north west, but in Curtis Jones there is certainly a player worth keeping a close eye on in the seasons to come.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have both proven that Liverpool’s academy is brimming with talent of the highest quality, and Jones could be the latest man to emerge from the youth ranks under Klopp.
Although it’s rather premature to be drawing strong parallels between Jones and Gerrard, the 17-year-old’s quality in a dynamic box-to-box role exudes a feeling that Liverpool could be on the cusp of welcoming Gerrard’s natural successor onto the scene.
That Klopp decided to take Jones on Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the US in the summer speaks volumes about how highly he is regarded, and the experience of training alongside the senior squad will have done wonders for his development.
A call-up to the senior squad seems unlikely this season but with 4 appearances for the U23 squad already under his belt this season he’s certainly moving in the right direction.
His career return of 14 goals from 28 appearances at U18 levels illuminates his natural goal-scoring instinct from midfield, and if he is able to discover that form for the U23’s this season there is no doubt that he will be pushing for a chance at senior level this time next season.
Born and raised in Liverpool, a brilliant engine in a box-to-box role and with a strong eye for the back of the net, the Reds faithful could be looking at the next Steven Gerrard in waiting.
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