Return of 'Thanos' could be what Jürgen Klopp needs against Man City as Liverpool handed boost

Liverpool is set to return from the international break in a much stronger position than this time last year, as Jürgen Klopp prepares to keep Manchester City in sight ahead of what is looking like a repeat of the previous title races the Reds have been in before.

A 12.30pm kick-off at the Etihad Stadium makes for a tough return for Liverpool who is, yet again, set to play in the worst television slot of them all. Thankfully, though, a key player in the squad could return to help bolster Liverpool's chances of topping the league by Christmas Day.

In a campaign in which he has continued form after a positive display at Stamford Bridge last season, as well as previously being described as 'Thanos' by Arsenal legend Ian Wright, Curtis Jones is expected to be back from injury after serving his three-match league suspension (as per This is Anfield).

Jones has been Klopp's closest replacement to Georginio Wijnaldum, playing a role in which he has had to turn doubters into believers in his own way. Of course, some of us have long had faith in the ability of Jones, who has provided plenty of glimpses over his time as a senior professional — not least with some of his performances in the Champions League — but the consensus is now broadening.

Wright is among those who have believed for some time. Speaking in April on his Ringer Podcast Show, he said: "Curtis Jones. He's coming ladies and gents. Like he said when the Hulk got shot down, Thanos is coming. Curtis Jones is coming."

And he has been proven right this season. Despite Liverpool's midfield evolution in the summer that saw four new signings added, with Ryan Gravenberch and Alexis Mac Allister the two likely to play in Jones' role, the academy graduate won his place in the starting team, featuring in one of the most important clashes of the campaign against Spurs.

Criticism over Jones has been impatient in some ways, with some looking for him to produce the similar attacking form he did while in the academy, while comparisons to players around his age such as Manchester City's Phil Foden have also been unhelpful.

But Jones has since crafted his own role within the Liverpool XI, where his game intelligence has been standard-setting after a long run in the team.

Thankfully, Liverpool's work in the transfer market over the summer ensured that all would not fall apart in his absence. A draw at Kenilworth Road against Luton was the only result that prevented a perfect Premier League innings between the two international breaks, and form has continued for some Reds while on duty with their respective national teams.

And with the Reds able to top the Premier League table with a win at Manchester City, Klopp is set to welcome back a player who can help establish control in one of the most difficult midfield battles of the season.


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