Jurgen Klopp explains why Curtis Jones played right-back vs. Leicester – Liverpool FC

Curtis Jones was a surprise starter at right-back as Liverpool hosted Leicester in the League Cup, with Jurgen Klopp explaining his decision.

Klopp had been expected to make 11 changes to his side from Sunday’s 3-1 win over West Ham, but the teamsheet was released with only 10.

Jones kept his place from the weekend and took the captain’s armband from Virgil van Dijk, though his involvement came in a new role.

With Wataru Endo, Harvey Elliott and Ryan Gravenberch in midfield, the 22-year-old instead adopted the right-back role that still allowed him to drift into central areas.

It proved a major success, with Klopp joking afterwards that he used the carrot of captaincy to ‘sell’ the idea of starting in defence.

“I sold the right-back idea with the captaincy, let me say it like that!” he told reporters.

“But he was already completely excited when I told him he would play right-back.

“The way he executed it was super special, I have to say. Wow. Super smart.”

In truth, the midfielder was shifted to right-back out of necessity, with Klopp explaining that none of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez or Stefan Bajcetic were fit enough to start.

“We couldn’t play Stefan [for] long, we have to be careful with him. Joey will be OK for the weekend, but was not OK for today. For Trent it’s too early,” he said.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 27, 2023: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“So I need to find solutions, and Curtis was always in my mind as a potential solution there, because he’s really football smart.

“That’s how it is. He enjoys being on the ball and the deeper you are, the more often you can get the ball.

“It was a top performance, I have to say, for the first time in a, for him, strange position. He did it really well.

“I liked that a lot. He’s in a good moment, so he could probably each position at the moment.

“But we will try to use him as often as possible in his natural position.”

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