Shaun Botterill - Getty Images
Brad Jones' time on the pitch in his Liverpool career has been limited, but with the club back in Europe and already competing on three fronts, along with Doni's disappearance, the backup goalkeeper's going to get his chances.
For many Liverpool supporters, one of last season's most emotionally-charged memories was the scene after the final whistle in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton. Pepe Reina had been given a straight red against Newcastle and was out for three matches, and Doni, who was Reina's number two but hadn't played a competitive minute for the club, received a straight red against Blackburn for taking out Junior Hoilett in the penalty area. Jones's first act in that match was to save Yakubu's penalty, and while he wasn't a revelation the rest of the way against Blackburn or in the Wembley semi-final, the banner image is one that struck a powerful chord.
Jones had an exceedingly difficult season off the pitch last year, losing his five year-old son Luca to leukemia in November, and was understandably less involved with the football as he and his partner said goodbye to one young son just months before welcoming another one into the world. Maybe it's because I'm a father to a young son, but the banner image is one that will stay with me for a long, long time, and it firmly cemented Brad Jones as a man for whom I will always have a certain level of respect and admiration.
So to see him in the discussion this season is nice, even if ability-wise he's got a tendency to look uncertain and a little wobbly, including his last appearance against Young Boys. As dismal as Pepe Reina's been, Jones isn't likely to be challenging in the eleven on a consistent basis, barring injury or suspension. But for the time being, it seems as though Brendan Rodgers might be giving him a stretch of appearances, at least while the fixtures are coming thick and fast.
"The manager has given me a chance at Young Boys in the Europa League so he has already showed that he's willing to do it. How often that's going to happen, I don't really know. It depends how things go, and how results go will depend how much he wants to change the team. It's just a case of doing what a second-choice 'keeper does, that's work your socks off in training and try to show what you can do. Any opportunity I get I'll try to do that."
Rumors prior to the start of the season had Liverpool's goalkeeping situation undergoing significant changes, and if that turns out the be the case next summer, it's likely that Brad Jones will be moving on. For now, if the chances look like they're coming, we're left to hope that he's up to the task, and that Liverpool will be successful enough on all fronts to allow that to continue. Sport's not all about sentiment, but in his case, I'm prone to wish him success as much for those reasons as I am for the football.