Curtis Jones told what he must do to take Liverpool career to the 'next level'

Steven McManaman believes Curtis Jones needs to add more goals and assists to his repertoire to take his game to the next level at Liverpool.

The young midfielder scored a fantastic brace in the 5-1 Carabao Cup win against West Ham United earlier this month, with his second goal, in particular, earning rave reviews from fans and pundits. Jones picked up the ball near the halfway line and ran the length of the pitch before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.

McManaman lavishes praise on his performance against the Hammers, adding that Jones showed flashes of academy days at the club. He said (quotes via Liverpool Echo): “I loved the way he played against West Ham United, that’s the way he should play all the time. During his time with the under-18s and under-21s, that’s what he was like. He was the leading goalscorer, he took people on and was the most creative. When you see him play like that in the first-team, it’s exactly how I remember him and I hope to see more of that.

McManaman feels Jones was sometimes guilty of playing it too safe for Liverpool after bursting onto the scene, although he did acknowledge the fact that the Reds always have three forwards in front of their midfielders to pass the ball to.

He added: "When he first made that step-up, maybe he was trying to play it a bit safer and you take fewer chances in the game. Liverpool always play with three forwards, so there are always people ahead of you who you feel you have to pass to. I know Curtis very well. When he has that confidence and drives forwards, he very rarely gives the ball away. For a midfielder, everybody talks about adding goals and assists. It takes you to the next level.

“I worked at the Academy when he was coming through and spoke to him a lot. I’m not saying I’ve given him advice and helped him on his way, but I’ve been there for a lot of his games at youth level. I speak to him now and again and I’m thrilled to bits for him.”

McManaman knows a thing or two about becoming a household name for Liverpool after coming through the academy, having made 364 first-team appearances for the club. As for Jones, he's slowly coming into his own as a reliable presence in the center of the park and looks set to have a bright future at Anfield if he carries on developing in the same trajectory.

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