Long serving captain Steven Gerrard and veteran defender Glen Johnson won’t be the only players leaving Liverpool this summer with reserve ‘keeper Brad Jones announcing via social media that his time at Anfield is over when his contract expires this summer.
Despite rumours of the Reds opening talks with the Australian shot-stopper over a renewal, the 33-year is now officially on the hunt for a new club. After extending his well wishes to the captain, Jones opened up about his time on Merseyside. “I would also like to add my thanks to all the LFC fans for the support that I have received over the past 5yrs. It has been the best and worst periods of my life and I have always felt the warmth of these amazing people,” he wrote on his Instagram account. “I would have loved to have stayed at the club I have supported since the age of 5 but sometimes the dream ends. I got to play in some amazing games, 2 Merseyside derbies with one being at Wembley which will stay with me forever.”
Although Liverpool have been widely tipped to sign a new goalkeeper to provide both cover and competition for Simon Mignolet, in a surprising move, they have offered a new deal to long-standing number-two Brad Jones.
The Australian shot-stopper moved to Anfield from Middlesbrough back in 2010 and it was expected that the 33-year old would be on his way out the door this summer when his deal expires having made only 25-appearances for the first team since arriving on Merseyside five years ago. Now, it would appear that the club has changed their mind and will look to retain the services of Jones for at least a little while longer with Reds boss Brendan Rodgers confirming that talks are ongoing.
It only goes to show how fast things change in football; last month Liverpool looked more likely than not to replace under-fire goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with just about anyone with two arms and half a brain, but the Belgian has seemingly battled his way back from the dark days and is currently enjoying his run in the sun.
With five clean sheets over their last nine matches, Mignolet is looking like a different ‘keeper altogether, though he’s kept the same positive attitude all season and even when the transfer speculation was at its most intense. “You know that there is always a spotlight on top of you,” said the Reds shot-stopper ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Selhurst Park. “You are always going to be under pressure but on the other hand it’s our job and you get used to it. So it’s not really pressure, it’s something more that you enjoy.”
He may have been dropped for a brief period of time in favour of understudy Brad Jones, but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes that under-fire ‘keeper Simon Mignolet has come out of his enforced absence looking better than ever.
Although rumours continue to swirl regarding the Belgian’s future at Anfield, the 26-year old has benefited greatly from the new-found defensive stability the Northern Irishman’s tactical tweaks have brought, keeping three clean sheets in his last five league outings. “Simon’s shown the benefits of having a bit of time out of the side,” said the Reds manager in the build-up to Saturday’s meeting with West Ham United on Merseyside. “He looks like a different goalkeeper. It’s difficult when you are playing all the time as you don’t get the chance to reflect on your performance.”
On the back of Liverpool’s improved defensive performances ‘keeper Simon Mignolet seems to have regained some of the confidence he was lacking at the beginning of the season, but that hasn’t quieted talk of the Reds ongoing search for a replacement.
While they’re unlikely to make a move before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, the Anfield outfit has been on the lookout for top-class competition for the Belgian. With the contract situation of understudy Brad Jones up the air, reported target and compatriot Mat Ryan of Club Brugge has weighed in on reports that Liverpool are considering taking him to the bright lights of the Premier League. “Obviously it’s very flattering to have your name involved with a big team like that” said the Australian international while on duty at the Asian Cup. “But my mind is on the job here.”