Curtis Jones is set to serve a three-match ban after receiving a straight red card due to “serious foul play” against Tottenham on Saturday and so won’t be available for Liverpool’s upcoming Premier League fixtures against Brighton next Sunday, Everton (October 21) and Nottingham Forest (October 29), providing the Red’s don’t lodge an appeal.
However, the scouser will be able to play a part in Liverpool’s European campaign as the ban only extends to domestic games meaning he can take to the field for Europa League group stage fixtures versus Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday and Toulouse (October 26).
This will be especially beneficial for Joe Gomez and Stefan Bajcetic, who have been drafted in as make-shift right-backs to cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold while he is being phased back into the starting lineup after a spell on the sidelines. Alexander-Arnold got his first minutes since September 4 off the bench against Tottenham at the weekend and may not be ready to start next week.
The presence of Jones, who has impressed as an inverted right back in Alexandre-Arnold’s absence, means that Gomez and Bajcetic will be able to play in their natural positions on Thursday while Jurgen Klopp won’t be forced to rush the re-integration process for his first-choice full-back.
Jones was extremely impressive in the role during Liverpool’s 3-1 win against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup with Klopp heaping praise on the young midfielder for his “super smart” adaptions. Explaining his decision to play Jones at right back after the game, Klopp said: “I sold the right-back idea with the captaincy, let me say it like that!
“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.”
Diogo Jota’s one-match ban and Cody Gakpo’s injury won’t benefit Klopp’s selection process up top but should lead to more minutes for Darwin Nunez. The 24-year-old has only been handed three starts so far this season but Klopp will be left with no option but to start him down the middle – at least for Liverpool’s visit to the south coast this weekend.
Jota will be suspended for that game alone while Gakpo is expected to be out for “several weeks” after injuring himself while scoring Liverpool’s equaliser on Saturday. When asked if the injury for Gakpo was a ‘bad one’, Klopp replied: “Possibly, I don’t know. He wore a brace. He scored a goal, but after that shot he felt it even more. It was from the foul before.”