Jurgen Klopp faces biggest decision of his Liverpool career over academy graduate's future

Jurgen Klopp faces one of the biggest decisions of his tenure at Anfield this year. Since his appointment, the German has slowly but surely built a squad with a core of world-class players, and now he must find one in the centre of the park.

The Anfield outfit have some of the most talented players in the world in their squad, including the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold, but their midfield is still lacking that touch of quality.

Captain Jordan Henderson and the impressive Fabinho provide a strong defensive base to Klopp’s central trio, but it is the third player in midfield which has caused some issues.

A plethora of different players have been deployed in that position, including 19-year-old Tyler Morton, veteran James Milner and academy product Curtis Jones.

While it appears to be the latter that is a favourite under Klopp, it may not be enough to prevent the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager from executing his plans to sign Jude Bellingham.

The Mirror report that Liverpool are willing to spend up to £90million in order to sign Bellingham, which would make the former Birmingham City star one of the most expensive players ever.

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But a figure of that magnitude could be better spent on a selection of players if Klopp believes that Jones is already the man to slot into midfield.

Speaking about the 20-year-old earlier this week, Klopp said: “Curtis was really good the last two games. I know him for a long time now and I am one of his biggest fans.

“From when I first saw him I can remember the talent group training at Melwood on a side pitch and I looked out of my office and saw him and it was ‘Ooof. Wow’.

“The next question was ‘How old is he?’ I think he was 15 at the time but was already clearly a massive talent.

“Talents need to work and he is doing that work and talents need to learn the game and he is doing that every day.

“Sometimes they need a push and Curtis looks like he is that guy – not that he is not concentrating. It is a proper response and if his response is like this then absolutely fine.”

If Jones is ready to cement himself as one of the first names on the team sheet and given the chance to improve with regular opportunities then there may not be a chance for Bellingham in the team too.

As one of the rising talents in world football, Bellingham will only improve as well and, arguably, has a much higher ceiling than Jones, but it comes at a cost.

Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid have all been linked with Bellingham recently, and Los Blancos are thought to be plotting a move for the star that they view as a ‘total midfielder’.

If Dortmund allow the 18-year-old to depart Signal Iduna Park for one of those three clubs then the opportunity is, put simply, gone for Liverpool.

Bellingham is more than capable of settling at one of the European giants and making himself a club legend there, thus the chances of him then departing when Liverpool come calling are incredibly slim.

If Klopp believes that the Reds will be able to find just as impressive talent in the future then he needs to ensure the club hold on to their cash for the future, and potentially spend it elsewhere.

But if he decides that Bellingham is the man to build the team around for the foreseeable future, then he must find a way to work Jones into the plans too.

And that could mean potentially sacrificing one of the first names on the teamsheet, like Henderson, if he is to progress.

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