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‘I hit a wall’: Curtis Jones credits Liverpool revival to change of mindset

Curtis Jones has said it took a change in mindset to establish himself at Liverpool having “hit a wall” when he first broke into Jürgen Klopp’s team.

The 22-year-old is enjoying the finest period of his senior career at present, an ongoing three-match suspension notwithstanding, having secured a regular starting role for his boyhood club last season, scored the winner in the European under-21s Championship final in July and held off competition from several new signings at Liverpool to retain his place this term.

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Jones is set to start the Europa League tie against Toulouse on Thursday with one game of his domestic ban to serve following his dismissal at Tottenham. The midfielder believes a change in mentality, plus hard work, helped to win Klopp’s trust after initially struggling to claim a consistent run in the Liverpool side.

“As an academy player I was always a kid who jumped up the age groups,” Jones said. “Then I came into the first team and kind of felt like I hit a wall, and I couldn’t really take the next step. So it was about going over my game and seeing where the improvements were. I’ve always been a lad who just wanted to go and score goals and pick up the ball and run.

“But then I learned: ‘OK, there’s more the gaffer and staff want.’ I’ve never been a kid who thought about being the first one to go and press or to run the most, so I’ve added that in my game. I’m trying to work on the overall package. I’ve still got a lot of things to learn, but I’m getting there.”

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Jones was named in the team of the tournament at the Euros having impressed for Lee Carsley’s under-21s. A long-term ambition, he admits, is to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad for the senior competition in Germany next summer. “Oh yes, 100%. If you’re playing well then you deserve a chance. But I don’t look that far ahead. If I’m playing here and playing well, scoring goals, then that will take care of itself.”

Klopp confirmed he will make changes for a tie that could give Liverpool a five-point lead over second-placed Toulouse with only three matches played. But he said: “Toulouse deserve all of our respect. They have a really interesting story I would say. Winning the French Cup last year is a massive, massive thing. They have a really young team, a talented team, and they have a really clear idea of what they want to do.”

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Andy Robertson, meanwhile, has undergone surgery on the shoulder injury that is expected to keep him sidelined until early 2024.