Oscar Gloukh is a name you might hear spoken in tones of admiration throughout the Champions League this season, and he himself was wowed by one Liverpool player he faced during the summer.
The 19-year-old, who joined Red Bull Salzburg earlier this year, was part of the Israel side which reached the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship in July, where they were beaten 3-0 by an England team featuring Curtis Jones.
The Young Lions went on to triumph over Spain in the final, in which the Reds youngster scored the winner, and 22-year-old caught the eye of the Israeli gem during the tournament.
Speaking to the Daily Mail as he reflected on his international involvement over the summer, Gloukh said: “It was special. The best I saw there, it was Curtis Jones and Angel Gomes. Both were playing as sixes and I think, against us, maybe they lost the ball once all game!
“They moved the ball, their positioning [was good], they controlled the game – every minute. We didn’t touch the ball a lot. We were more defensive. But to see them, Premier League players, this is the level you want to go to, to get to. It was a good experience.”
Jones enjoyed a strong finish to the 2022/23 campaign for Liverpool, featuring prominently during the late season charge for a Champions League berth and scoring twice in the 3-0 win at Leicester (Transfermarkt).
Those displays ensured that he went to the U21 Euros in flying form and, as noted above, he made a telling impact in England’s triumph in Batumi.
He’s had a solid start to the new season, boasting the Reds’ second-best passing success rate for anyone to have started a top-flight match (93.1%), while only four teammates have bettered his average of one dribble per game (WhoScored).
Now 22, the Scouser will be eager to cement himself as a regular first-team presence under Jurgen Klopp, even with Liverpool welcoming four new midfielders into the squad during the summer transfer window.
With 13, 10 and 12 Premier League starts in the past three campaigns respectively (WhoScored), Jones isn’t yet established as a guaranteed name on the manager’s team sheet. Could this be the season that he goes from sporadic starter to core first-team presence?
Gloukh’s comments would suggest that our number 17 has the ability and raw talent to do so.