Tag Archives: Curtis Jones

Aston Villa v Liverpool: preview

Aston Villa face Liverpool late on Sunday at Villa Park in the Premier League with both sides looking to maintain their 100% starts to the league campaign.

Both sides did lose their respective Carabao Cup clashes this week and will be desperate to bounce back with a victory in this one. Villa were eliminated by Championship side Stoke City, whilst Liverpool lost to Arsenal on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 90 minutes.

Aston Villa

The hosts have made a number of signings this summer that seem to be having the desired affect on the squad as Dean Smith’s side have won back to back top-flight matches after maintaining their status by the skin of their teeth last season.

Ollie Watkins and Emi Martinez have both hit the ground running, and have been joined this week by former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley – who has joined on loan from Chelsea for the season.

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s outfit have won all three of their matches so far this term in their pursuit of retaining their Premier League crown. The champions have beaten Arsenal and Chelsea thus far and will be hopeful of continuing their good form.

Despite winning the title at a canter, Liverpool have added Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas to their squad. However, both Thiago and Tsimikas re expected to miss this clash.

Last Season’s Meetings

The Reds won both meetings between the two sides last term in the league with late drama in this exact fixture back in November last year.

Trailing to a Trezeguet goal to nil with just minutes remaining Andy Roberson headed the champions elect level before Sadio Mane’s front post glancing header found its way into the net, and with it the away end erupted – something that sadly wont be possible on Sunday.

The meeting at Anfield was far more straight forward for Liverpool as another strike from Mane was added to late on by Curtis Jones to earn Klopp’s side a 2-0 victory.

Likely Lineups

Despite the signing of Barkley this week, the scouser may have to wait for his debut but may yet feature off the bench.

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Grealish, Watkins

Liverpool will be without the aforementioned Thiago and Tsimikas as well as captain Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and perhaps both Xherdan Shaqiri and Rhian Brewster who are both edging towards transfers away from the club.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexnader-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Keita, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino

Prediction

Despite their strong start this is by far the sternest test of the season for Dean Smith’s men and could well be a step to far in their 100% record.

Klopp’s side will know if they can maintain their relentless form, with their main rivals dropping points they could create another early lead.

Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool

Premier league 2020/21: WHO CAN WIN IT?

The new Premier League season begins this weekend, unbeleivably as it seems like only yesterday we were waving goodbye to the last season.

Ahead of the 2020/21 season, we have some questions surrounding the top of the table. Can Pep’s Manchester City rid themselves of last years frailties and compete for longer this time? Or will Liverpool continue their consistency and defend their title?

Let’s not rule out the possibility of Manchester United’s continuing their progression and it would be almost insanity to dismiss Chelsea, given their spends, wouldn’t it?

Here’s how I think the teams involved in the upper echelons of the Premier League title race will play out in 2020/21…

Liverpool

The reigning champions. Jurgen Klopp’s side may have ended the season in somewhat bizarre fashion as they rather limped over the line following lock-down and title celebrations. That should not take away from the sheer dominance the Reds imparted on the Premier League.

While many people question the business, or lack of business done by the champions up until now, its my belief only minor changes are required, if any at all.

Natural left-back cover for Andy Robertson was required and has been found in Greek international Kostas Tsimikas.

One saga, which rumbles on is the Thiago Alcantara links, now joined by the Gini Wijnaldum to Barcelona rumours. Whilst many Liverpool fans may argue why not have both? I’m not sure there is room both in the current group, a squad that already boasts a plethora of central midfield options and the two players are of a similar mould.

The main bone of contention continues to be the back-up options to the starting XI. Should Klopp face a long-term injury to his front-line options the understudies may not be of a level required, although in truth that is the case of almost every team in world football. Not many can be a suitable understudy to Virgil van Dijk.

Overall, I believe Liverpool will go on to retain their title, the relentless nature in which Klopp has his squad churning out results is very difficult to keep up with week on week. Don’t be surprised by the growing influence of some of the younger players, in particular Curtis Jones, and also Naby Keita may finally find his feet in English football.

Manchester City

The main contenders to take Liverpool’s crown, Pep Guardiola’s well furnished Man City side.

There is little doubt 2019/20 can be viewed as somewhat of a failure from a sky blue perspective in Manchester. As glorious a victory as the Carabao Cup may have been, a side comprised of such talent and expenditure is expected to finish closer than 18 points off the summit. Not to mention the dismal UEFA Champions League exit.

That, however, was last term, how about now? The arrival of Nathan Ake certainly plugs a crack in the issues faced at City, a forced to be reckoned with going forwards, just ask Watford, but defensively they were often found wanting, just ask Adama Traore. However, I’m not sure Ake is the answer, for one the Dutchman is very much a left-sided centre-back, similarly to Aymeric Laporte. On top of which, despite being a more than decent operator at Premier League level, he isn’t elite, and City are operating amongst that level.

Elsewhere, the club has seen the departure of David Silva from the Etihad, a fine servant to the football club who leaves with the knowledge he will be forever immortalised in statue form. On the field, in a more mobile capacity, Silva is likely to be replaced by the much praised but lesser seen Phil Foden.

Pep has also spent £20 million on former Valencia man Ferran Torres, a 20 year old right winger who arrives with plenty of plaudits and provides competition to the likes of Rihad Mahrez, Bernado Silva and Foden himself.

Whilst the transfer window remains open there is always the chance City could strengthen further, although the Lionel Messi links have now subsided, as things stand in the week of the season’s opening day they haven’t addressed the areas of the squad suitable to overcome an 18 point swing.

Manchester United

Despite the obvious improvement in the past six months, particularly since Bruno Fernandes arrived back in January, there are still areas of weakness at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is learning on the job somewhat and with that there is bound to come mistakes, certainly when up against seasoned campaigners over a prolonged period.

Despite the frailties, however, it should be another year of progression for the red half of Manchester, who have already bolstered their midfield ranks with the arrival of Donny van de Beek from Ajax. One or two more signings, particularly in defensive positions and they should find themselves cutting the gap to the top two.

Chelsea

Who haven’t they signed? One thing is for sure is the Blues are set to be an enthralling watch with the attacking prowess in their currently huge squad.

Boasting the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, to name but a few, Frank Lampard’s side will give anybody a match on their day, but it’s consistency they may lack to begin with.

They shipped goals all too regularly to maintain prolonged title challenge last term and as things stand that won’t change too much, despite the arrival of the vastly experienced Thiago Silva, it’ll remain a difficult ask to breach the gap to the top two.

Any Other Contenders

Whilst the Premier League has seen Leicester City win the title against the odds, it seems unlikely 2020/21 will see another Claudio Ranieri and Jamie Vardy shaped fairy-tale, but you never know. The main protagonists would of course be Tottenham and Arsenal, although the rivals may be best focusing on breaking into the top four instead of harbouring serious title ambitions.

Outside of the North Londoners, perhaps Wolves could be considered for a tilt for a time being, however a 38 game threat seems unlikely at this stage.

With over a month left in the transfer window anything can happen (Messi), but for now it’s back to back Liverpool glory. After-all, top flight domestic titles are like Mersey Ferries, you wait 30 years for one and two come along at once….

Starlet Jones Signs Long-Term Contract With Liverpool

Champions Liverpool received a timely boost on Saturday evening with the announcement that youngster Curtis Jones had put pen to paper on a new five year contract to remain on Merseyside for the foreseeable future.

The 19 year old, who became Liverpool’s youngest ever captain when he donned the armband for the FA Cup replay victory over Shrewsbury, had signed a new deal in August, but was rewarded for his performances this season with a bumper extension at the weekend.

It has been a breakthrough campaign for the Scouser, who has been at the club since the age of eight and worked his way through the various youth ranks to the first team. He made his Premier League debut against Bournemouth in December before scoring his first goal for the Reds, a stunning long range winner against Everton in the FA Cup in January.

He continues to shine at youth level also, netting nine goals and contributing five assists in 14 appearances in the Premier League 2 and scoring five in four games in the UEFA Youth League, including his superb hat-trick against Napoli.

Jürgen Klopp has huge faith in Jones, a centre midfielder by trade who can also play on the left or in a more advanced attacking role. He sees him as a direct replacement for the outgoing Adam Lallana, who will leave Merseyside once the current Premier League campaign ends.

Klopp and his staff and have been impressed with Jones’ showings this year and were keen to tie down his long term future at the club as they already look ahead to next campaign and the challenge of retaining their Premier League.

Upon signing his new deal, Jones told Liverpool’s official site, “For me, as everyone knows, it’s massive. It’s my boyhood club and it’s the whole of my family’s club as well, so for me it’s huge.

“I think the environment is all positive and keeps me as positive as I can. Of course, we’re working with a great manager and around the best team in the world, so for me it was easy and I’m extremely proud.”