FA Cup

Jones character delights Kenny

Liverpool boss heaps praise on Australian goalkeeper

Brad Jones: The 30-year-old made his first ever Premier League appearance for Liverpool on Tuesday

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Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has praised Brad Jones' character after the goalkeeper made his Premier League debut against Blackburn on Tuesday night.

The 30-year-old is now in line to play in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton on Saturday with first and second choice stoppers Pepe Reina and Alexander Doni suspended.

Tuesday was the first time the Australian had played a competitive game since the tragic death of his five-year-old son Luca from Leukaemia in November last year.

He was brought on after Doni was sent-off and he saved a penalty with his first touch, before being yellow carded and giving away a spot-kick later in the game.

Dalglish has paid tribute to the former Middlesbrough player and believes he is in the right frame of mind.

He said: "We're not here to delve into the players' personal lives, but what's happened to Brad would have tested most people.

"You can only guess what it must be like to go through what he's been through, but he has done. He's come through it a really strong character.

"We know that to do what he's done has shown a tremendous amount of strength of character."

Jones will start against Everton at Wembley on Saturday having only played three games in his Liverpool career.

Before Tuesday's drama at Ewood Park, he had previously played in a Europa League draw with FC Utrecht and a Carling Cup tie with Northampton Town.

Excited

Dalglish added: "He will be happy he got a few minutes under his belt at Blackburn and I'm sure he enjoyed his first bit of action, saving a penalty.

"He'll be excited, as everyone else is, about playing. It's credit to Doni that he kept himself fit and active and sharp, and Brad's the same."

The Reds are aiming to win their second trophy of the season after they beat Cardiff City on penalties to lift the Carling Cup in February.

Their Premier League form had been poor prior to the win over Blackburn and their Merseyside rivals are a point above them in the table.

The Liverpool boss understands the importance of Saturday's semi-final and is determined to repeat their cup exploits this weekend.

Looking forward

He said: "The Carling Cup was a fantastic day for everyone connected with the club but you get your rewards for what happened on the day and you cannot live in the past. We didn't, we haven't and we won't and we will look forward.

"What beating Cardiff on penalties did got us a trophy and that was a very rewarding circumstance, but the Carling Cup win doesn't help or hinder anything we are looking forward to.

"We've never got ahead of ourselves at any stage and we won't now. Just winning the game will be important for us.

"The most important thing for us is to prepare ourselves properly, make sure that we are right and ready for it mentally, physically and tactically."

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