Ex-Liverpool favourite suggests reason why Reds didn’t fight to keep Gini Wijnaldum
Liverpool have seemingly bid farewell to fan favourite Georginio Wijnaldum who will leave the club a Premier League and Champions League winner and a club icon.
The Dutchman joined from relegated Newcastle United in 2016, going on to make 237 appearances for the club and scoring 22 goals.
Jurgen Klopp spoke glowingly of Wijnaldum after Liverpool’s final game of the season against Crystal Palace at Anfield, saying the emotions were like “losing a friend”.
Wijnaldum’s emotional Liverpool farewell
Wijnaldum and Klopp have both admitted that they weren’t keen to part ways, but former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy believes there is a reason why the Reds didn’t put everything into re-signing the Dutchman.
“Probably her reason that they’ve not moved heaven and earth to keep him is the emergence of Curtis Jones,” he said on Stadium Astro.
“The evidence is there in the games he’s played this season. High hopes for Curtis Jones playing in that position, left of the three (in midfield), rather than a front player.”
Jones showed himself to be an important part of Klopp’s midfield rotation, fitting into the senior team with aplomb across 24 Premier League games and five in the Champions League.
The 20-year-old scored once and assisted twice in each competition, with a period of regular football from November to February proving his maturity, quality and importance to the Liverpool side.
It is believed that the Liverpool hierarchy see Jones as the successor to Wijnaldum in midfield, and that the young Scouser can expect his role to continue to grow in the Dutchman’s absence.
The moment Curtis Jones arrived in the first-team
One particular standout performance was a man of the match display against Tottenham in December in what was at the time a top of the table clash, with Klopp heaping praise on the youngster.
“We do not see him as a kid anymore. He just has to keep working hard and keep his feet on the ground, and then his future could be pretty bright,” he said in the aftermath of that clash.
Having played predominantly as a left winger through Liverpool’s academy ranks, Jones has been identified as a midfield option with versatility and creativity.
With change set to come in midfield at Anfield, Jones is one of a few players that could be handed more opportunities to impress in seasons to come.