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Jones aims to keep Liverpool spot

Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones is aiming to hold off a challenge from Pepe Reina to secure a spot in Sunday's Merseyside derby.

Reina is looking to regain his place as he recovers from the hamstring injury that forced him to miss last Saturday's 1-0 victory over Reading.

Jones took over to make his first Premier League start for Liverpool in that game, and is likely to continue to stand in when Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala visit Anfield in the Europa League on Thursday night.

• Blog: Result follows performance

The Australia international has made only a handful of first-team appearances since arriving on Merseyside from Middlesbrough in 2010.

He did, though, play in last season's FA Cup semi-final against Everton when both Reina and Alexander Doni were suspended, and is keen for another taste of Merseyside derby action.

But asked about his chances of keeping his place beyond Thursday, Jones acknowledged that his fate rests in the hands of manager Brendan Rodgers.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "I don't know. That's down to the manager. The more games I play, the happier I'll be. It's his decision.

"We've got another game on Thursday and I'm just focusing on that. We will see how that goes. If I can keep playing after that I'll be delighted."

Jones has made as many first-team appearances in the last three months – a total of four – as he did during the whole of his first two seasons at Anfield. He has established himself as second choice at the club, with Doni currently on leave back home in Brazil for personal reasons.

Despite playing only rarely, Jones believes that his experiences at Anfield have made him a better goalkeeper.

"I've improved a lot as a goalkeeper from being here," he said. "All the keepers work really hard every day in training as a group. You have to fight to get games under your belt and I'm someone who likes a challenge.

"That's the reason I came here. To set the bar high and see how far I can get in the game. Since the manager has come in, there have been changes. From the day he came in it's been a fight to prove to him I'm worthy of being here. I'm hoping that I'm winning that battle. If I can get more games, then all the better."

Jones is aware that Reina will do all he can to regain his place in time for Sunday's trip to Goodison Park, with the Spanish keeper telling the club's website that he is well on the road to recovery.

Reina said: "I'm getting better, little by little. It wasn't worth taking any risks [against Reading] because you risk it getting worse. I'll be patient and get really good."

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