Brad Jones has declared himself satisfied with his season so far and revealed how preparing as though he’s going to play every match has allowed him to step into the breach when required with the minimum of fuss.
Injuries to Pepe Reina, plus an extended run in the team in cup competitions, have meant Jones has notched up 15 first-team appearances for Liverpool so far this season.
Overall, the custodian has been pleased with how he’s performed.
“To have had 15 appearances is probably more than I would have thought I’d got at the start of the season,” he told Liverpolfc.com. “I feel as though in the majority, I have performed fairly well, so I’m happy.
“Obviously circumstances dictate when I am going to get those games and things like that, but I am more than happy to have had those games. I wouldn’t mind a few more, but I think it’s been a decent season all in all.”
Jones has started Liverpool’s last two Barclays Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton.
However, Reina underwent fitness tests before both of those games in a bid to make Brendan Rodgers‘ starting XI.
“I think a lot of people like to know beforehand if they’re going to play,” said Jones. “At Southampton, I knew he was struggling so it was more a case of just preparing as if I was going to play.
“If he had been put down to play and then gone into the warm-up and felt it, then I would have had to have been ready. That’s just a mental state of thinking you’re playing and then if you don’t, at least you know you’re ready should anything happen.
“You have got to go into most games thinking that, but especially when somebody has been carrying an injury. You have to be on-guard.”
Despite heading into those last two matches unsure of whether he was going to start, Jones insists his preparations don’t differ too much.
“In training, I do the same if I was playing or if I wasn’t,” he said. “It’s more just a mental thing the night before the game knowing there’s a stronger chance you could play.
“It doesn’t change too much but obviously you don’t want to be caught off-guard and be told an hour before the game you are playing. I have had worse — I have been told five minutes before a kick-off I was playing when I was at Middlesbrough! That was definitely an eye-opener!”