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Liverpool already has Roberto Firmino wildcard replacement that could prove Jürgen Klopp right



Liverpool already have Roberto Firmino as wildcard replacement who could prove Jurgen Klopp right

Liverpool are already in the hunt for Roberto Firmino’s successor, but they don’t have to look far after a goal showed Jurgen Klopp has made an important move.

One of Liverpool’s biggest dilemmas this summer will be finding the right replacement for Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian is set to leave Anfield at the end of the season and, having all but redefined the role of the false nine, it is not yet clear who will take his place.

There are signs that Jurgen Klopp has tried to make Cody Gakpo this season, but with the Dutch international being far less experienced, it will inevitably be some time before the Reds have a replacement for their No.9.

But there is another option available to Liverpool – with a player Klopp signed a new long-term contract earlier this season.

Curtis Jones is yet to find his long-term position at the club, although it’s often through no fault of his own. The England Under-21 star was brought into the squad amidst the most successful spell in Premier League history and several performances suggest he has a role to play.

Jones, just 22, scored the third goal in a 4-0 victory on Saturday as the England Under-21s beat a French Under-21 side for which Ibrahima Konaté had previously played – a sign that he’s in the middle of Klopp’s vision of making progress and another look at how Jones often puts in his best performances against European opponents.

During his senior years at Liverpool, few games stood out more than his performances against Leipzig and Porto in 2021. But in the Premier League, fans wanted a bit more. He has only made one league appearance due to injury this season, while his other six appearances have all come off the bench. As with any young player and as Harvey Elliott develops, playing time is key to development – even if it’s on loan away from the club. Jones was trusted in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Napoli last November, in a performance up front that saw him well against one of Europe’s top sides this season. So why can’t he appear more regularly in national competitions?

With Firmino set to leave, Jones could start to be used in his more natural attacking role. The acquisitions of Darwin Núñez and Gakpo will likely see Liverpool deploy a 4-2-3-1 system once Luis Díaz returns, while Klopp will look for opportunities to have his best forwards on the pitch at the same time. Although Jones may be behind Gakpo in starting minutes from 10, there should be a significant improvement on the 291 minutes he has played for Liverpool in all competitions this season – just 3.23 soccer matches.

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A more natural attacking player, Jones may still have time to excel in a deeper role, but Liverpool should first find out if they can use the system in attacking areas. He’s provided insight so far, but if he ignores the outside pressures that demand more from a player his age, there’s a chance Firmino’s exit will further unlock the potential he’s shown at the helm. Academy – which is Klopp’s decision turns out to sign Jones for a new five-year extension in November right.