Belfast Telegraph

Kindergarten Kop... Jones fires young Reds to derby win

 

Teenage kicks: Curtis Jones celebrates his Liverpool winner
Teenage kicks: Curtis Jones celebrates his Liverpool winner

By Carl Markham

Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones piled more Merseyside derby misery on Everton with a stunning second-half winner in the FA Cup third round.

Teenager Jones, at 18 years and 340 days, became the youngest goalscorer in the fixture since Robbie Fowler in 1994 by superbly curling home off the underside of the crossbar to earn a 1-0 success.

Everton have failed to win on their last 23 visits to Anfield, a woeful run stretching back to September, 1999.

The defeat for Carlo Ancelotti's men was particularly embarrassing given they fielded a virtually full-strength side against an inexperienced Liverpool line-up which included nine changes and two debutants.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was understandably delighted after his calculated gamble of giving the majority of his first-team stars the day off paid dividends.

Of Jones' goal, he said: "It was an absolutely sensational goal, I love it. He is an unbelievable player, a Scouser, very confident, can't wait to play in the first team. Rightly so. He is in a very good way.

"He has made big steps, he will be a Liverpool player if nothing strange happens - 100 per cent.

"I'm not surprised he scored that kind of goal. He still has things to learn and improve on, but you sometimes forget, and we forget in training, that he is only 18. Unbelievable."

The only Liverpool downside was an injury to James Milner.

Klopp said: “Milner has pain and that is serious. It’s a muscle.”

Match-winner Jones added: “I just go out there and try and play my game.

“It’s been frustrating to be on the bench then getting a bit of a taste for it, then on the bench again.

“There are times in my head where I’m begging to come on. So I just tried to go out there and show what I’m capable of doing.

“Hopefully I’ve topped it off with a good performance and, what everyone is saying, a great goal.”

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 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.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“We are going to speak all together and find a solution to try to improve the team.”

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