Liverpool’s Midfield Rebuild Significantly Helped By Alexander-Arnold And Jones
Liverpool’s Premier League run-in has been nothing short of spectacular thus far. Their 3-0 victory at Leicester City on Monday night secured the Reds their seventh win on the bounce as they are doing their part in the race for the top four.
Jurgen Klopp will be elated with how his side have been playing in recent weeks and there are signs that they could be a force once again in 2023-24. Much of this year has been marked by struggles in midfield, with the likes of Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara not being quite up to standard. The former has seen an uplift in his performances of late but there is still an onus on Liverpool to have a big shake-up in the summer.
The club is in need of strengthening in the middle of the park and Klopp has expressed his desire to freshen up his ranks. A few weeks ago it seemed like the summer rebuild was going to be an extremely difficult task. Fabinho and co were struggling to operate as efficiently as they had been in previous years while their main transfer target, Jude Bellingham, was priced out of a move to Anfield. That led to question marks over how much of a budget the manager would have to spend in the summer.
Fans’ concerns have been eased in the Reds’ stellar run of late thanks to the revitalisation of Fabinho, the transition of Trent Alexander-Arnold into a midfielder in possession and the growing presence of Curtis Jones.
Alexander-Arnold’s passing capabilities are universally revered and it has come to the surprise of no one that he has flourished in the middle of the park in recent weeks. His eye for a sublime pass is incredible and he can find a player on the other side of the pitch with pinpoint accuracy. The Liverpool native has provided six assists in his last eight league appearances, which reflects his frightening potential as a midfielder. While John Stones has had an unbelievable transition into Manchester City’s engine room, he does not have the quality that Alexander-Arnold possesses to pull off such audacious passes.
It was Trent who wrapped up Liverpool’s victory against the Foxes on Monday with a stunning finish into the top-right corner as part of a nicely-worked free-kick routine with Mohamed Salah. As a player who has received a lot of criticism for his defensive vulnerabilities as a right-back, the 24-year-old has been playing with a smile on his face, displaying plenty of confidence in this new-found role
This transition is benefitting the player, the team and leading to positive results. As far as next season is concerned, Alexander-Arnold will be considered as a key midfielder for Liverpool and that will come as a huge boost for Klopp, the board, and the Anfield faithful.
But as much as Alexander-Arnold’s goal and passing got a lot of plaudits against Leicester, the standout player on the pitch was Curtis Jones. The young midfielder has had to bide his time waiting for a regular place in the side since his senior debut back in 2019. Against the Foxes he was making his ninth consecutive start in the Premier League after consistent performances which have helped to earn the trust of Klopp. The German coach has long praised Jones, and with his time having seemingly arrived at last he is making himself undroppable in Liverpool’s best run of form this term.
Jones scored an impressive brace within three minutes against Leicester. His first was an exceptional controlled finish to steer Salah’s cross into the bottom corner with his left foot. It was a similar effort to his opener against Tottenham Hotspur a few weeks before, with his arrival at the back post and composed finish almost a replica. How many times did we see Premier League icon Frank Lampard profit from taking up those kinds of positions?
It seems as though the 22-year-old is starting to grow in confidence, and his second goal was even better, his excellent turn and rifled shot into the top corner topping off an exquisite phase of play from the visitors.
Jones is thriving off this consistent run of starts and we are starting to see the exciting midfield star that Klopp has been bigging up over the past couple of years. On current form, he is going to have a huge part to play next year and he will only improve with the more experience he receives at this level.
The Liverpudlian has started 10 games in the top flight this year, as many as he achieved in 2021-22. He made 13 starts during the 2020-21 campaign but that was largely down to the injury crisis the club suffered.
With both these local talents showing that they have what it takes to help take Liverpool’s midfield to the next level, it will do nothing but please the supporters to see two of their own helping to dictate matches and take the club forward. While there is no doubt that midfield reinforcements are needed on Merseyside, the form of these two young stars makes that task that little bit easier.