Liverpool began their defence of the newly renamed Capital One Cup last night, coming back to beat West Brom 2-1 at the Hawthorns thanks to two Nuri Sahin goals. On the other end of the field Brad Jones made his third appearance of the season for Liverpool in the Reds third victory of the season.
Yet despite Jones’ recent involvement, the Australian goalkeeper insists that he is not a realistic challenge to Pepe Reina in the long term.
In an interview with Metro, Jones has declared that he is not worried at all with the Spaniard’s form despite Reina’s recent hiccups against West Brom, Hearts and Arsenal. The Liverpool back-up keeper highlights the level that Reina has performed at consistently for Liverpool over the last few years and states that such form demonstrates the Spaniard’s true ability. In short Jones doesn’t appear to believe that he can compete for the starting job.
Such attitude needs to be changed at Anfield and fast. Currently, Jones has played in three matches and the Reds have won all three, whilst Reina has yet to get three points in a Liverpool shirt this season. Granted it has been against inferior opposition but Jones has been solid in his performances for the Reds this season.
Rather than declare his belief that Reina has the talent to keep the Liverpool job in the foreseeable future, Liverpool needed Jones to step up in the media this week. Jones should have come out and expressed his desire to compete for the starting job not wilted in the pressure of the spotlight and give into Reina’s successful career.
If we are totally honest with ourselves, almost everybody will agree that the Spaniard is better than Jones, yet the only person who cannot believe that is the Aussie himself. With Jones’ lack of self-belief, Rodgers has no hope of getting Reina to return to top form. The Liverpool manager needs to change Reina’s opinion that he is untouchable in the Liverpool goal and instil some competition between the sticks at Anfield. Until this happens, Reina will be confident that he won’t be dropped and so won’t feel as under pressure to perform.
Reina has been a loyal member of the Liverpool squad since his arrival in 2005 but he has struggled at the start of this season. The Spanish shot-stopper needs some competition at Anfield otherwise he won’t be pushed to return to his old impressive self, something he is certainly capable of. Sadly, in his outburst this week, Jones demonstrated that he is not the guy to push Pepe to improve.
Sadly, Brad Jones will always be a back-up.