Belfast Telegraph

Emotional Jones ready to make his mark

Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones hopes to put a difficult time behind him after fortune thrust him into Kenny Dalglish's plans following 16 months in the wilderness.

The Australian made his Barclays Premier League debut for the Reds 20 months after joining from Middlesbrough in the last-gasp 3-2 win at Blackburn on Tuesday in which he saved a penalty.

"It's been difficult not being involved and with everything that has gone on but I've trained as hard as I can and hopefully that will stand me in good stead," he said.

Jones dedicated his penalty save to five-year-old son Luca, who died from leukaemia in November, and is set to cap a hectic and emotional few days - his girlfriend Dani Lawrence gave birth to another boy Nico a week ago - by playing in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Everton.

"It's been a difficult 18 months for me with losing my son," the 30-year-old said.

"Luca is with me every day. I carry him everywhere. His face is on my washbag and his toys are in my travel bag - I take him everywhere."

Prior to the win over Blackburn he had made just two appearances, in the Carling Cup and Europa League, with the last coming in December 2010.

Once Dalglish took over the following January he got nowhere near the first-team squad until he made the bench for Saturday's draw with Aston Villa as Doni, brought in last summer as back-up goalkeeper, deputised for the suspended Jose Reina.

The Brazilian was sent off midway through the first half at Ewood Park and Jones' first touch for Liverpool in the league was to save Ayegbeni Yakubu's penalty.

Looking ahead to FA Cup semi-final against arch rivals Everton, Jones said: "It hasn't really sunk in yet. It is not something I've been thinking about to be honest but it is a big game and now it is about preparing for that and making sure I am focused and ready."


From Belfast Telegraph