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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Jones stunner is not a shock to Klopp

Liverpool 1 Everton 0

Local boy Curtis Jones grabbed the winner for Liverpool
Local boy Curtis Jones grabbed the winner for Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp talks to Takumi Minamino after the new signing was substituted in the FA Cup clash at Anfield

Liverpool's 18-year-old midfielder Curtis Jones celebrated a dream first goal for the club when his spectacular shot was enough to defeat derby rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round yesterday.

For his manager Jurgen Klopp, the sight of the Liverpool-born teenager curling in a winner that any of his first-choice stars would have been proud of was no surprise at all.

"Unbelievable player, Scouser, very confident, can't wait to play in the first team, good, rightly so, he is (on) a very good way," said Klopp after the 1-0 win.

"I have known him for three-and-a-half years, he has made big steps, will 100 per cent be a Liverpool player, if nothing strange happens. Great.

"That he scores that goal? I am not surprised. He is for these situations. Still a lot to learn, a lot to improve. Sometimes people forget in training, he is 18, unbelievable," he said.

Jones has been making clear to Klopp that he feels ready for the first team and admitted he had found it hard to feature only infrequently for the Premier League leaders and European champions.

"It's been frustrating at times being on the bench and then getting a taste on the pitch and then being back on the bench," he said. "I've been basically begging to come on but hopefully I've topped it off with a good goal," said the academy product.

"I can't sum up my emotions. For me it's huge just being around this team every day and learning from this group of players. There are world-class players all over this team but I think I went out and showed what I could do on the pitch," he added.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti broke his usual habit by speaking to the players immediately after the game about a performance which was "not good enough".

The Toffees winless run at Anfield extending back to 1999 was extended after Liverpool 18-year-old Curtis Jones scored a brilliant winner in the 1-0 FA Cup third round victory.

If Everton were ever going to end their drought this was a game for them to do it as Jurgen Klopp made nine changes, fielding a starting line-up which cost £43.9million - equivalent to their opponents' record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson - and included two debutants with a third playing 81 minutes after injury to James Milner. However, the visitors, whose own virtually full-strength starting XI cost in the region of £222m, squandered four good opportunities in the first half and never recovered from not taking any of them.

"I am not used to speaking to the players after the game but I am going to speak to them about this," said the Italian, who has now suffered back-to-back defeats after winning his first two matches in charge having taken over from caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson on St Stephen's Day.

"I think in the second half we were not able to keep the right ideas on the pitch as we did in the first half, when we had (the) opportunity to score.

"The fact we didn't score in the first half affected the performance in the second half, which was not good enough."

It was suggested to Ancelotti that the players had a mental block when it came to games at Anfield, such is their record at the ground, and that they had missed their best chance to win there with Liverpool fielding an under-strength team.

"The line-up of Liverpool didn't affect our idea. It was to play a good game. We knew Liverpool would put fresh players in and the intensity could be high.

"The defeat arrived because we were not able to keep a high intensity in the second (half). We lost energy and confidence."

After a performance which former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher described as the worst derby display at Anfield in 35 years the situation Ancelotti has inherited was laid bare to him and it is something he hopes to address in the transfer window.

"We are going to speak all together and find a solution to try to improve the team," he said.

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