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Nov, 1, 2012

Jones hoping to keep No.1 spot

Brad Jones has called on Liverpool to step up their Premier League form after a poor showing saw them knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Swansea.

• Whalley: Swansea down holders

The goalkeeper was one of the few players to emerge with credit on Wednesday night as the cup holders were beaten 3-1 at Anfield.

Manager Brendan Rodgers had intended to rest Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez against Swansea, but his side were so far off the pace in the first half that he felt compelled to bring on both players at half-time as they trailed 1-0.

Joe Cole, who made his first start since a Europa League qualifier against Gomel at the start of August, lasted only 45 minutes before being taken off, and was criticised by Rodgers for an anonymous performance.

Jones admitted that the manager gave the team "a kick up the backside" after a listless first-half display, and has warned that a vast improvement will be needed when Liverpool host Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday.

Rodgers' side go into that game lying 12th, and looking to build on a four-match unbeaten league run.

"We are disappointed as we wanted to progress," Jones told the Liverpool Echo. "The feeling we got last season with going to Wembley and lifting the trophy was a fantastic day. It was something we wanted to replicate. But on the night it took us 45 minutes to get going. By then it was too late.

"Now we have to move on and ensure our league form continues on a higher level.

"The manager had a go at us at half-time and sent Luis and Steven on. We got a kick up the backside and he let everyone know that we needed to get moving. Luis and Steven coming on gave us a spark.

"Maybe we were a bit naive early in the second half, pushing on too much too early. That gave them the chance to score their second. For the third one, everyone had pushed on and it was late in the game. That was irrelevant but the second goal was really disappointing.

"We had enough time and we were creating enough chances. We didn't need to go that gung-ho trying to get the equaliser."

The starting line-up against Swansea showed nine changes from the team that drew 2-2 at Everton in the Premier League last Sunday, with only Jones and midfielder Joe Allen keeping their places.

Rodgers is likely to restore most of those rested in midweek for the game against Newcastle, and Jones is hoping to hang on to his place even though Pepe Reina is fit again after missing four games with a hamstring injury.

"Everyone wants to play," Jones added. "When I came to Liverpool, I knew Pepe had an unbelievable record. He's a difficult guy to get out of the way. We have a good, friendly rivalry, along with Peter Gulacsi as well.

"For me this run of games has been a good opportunity to play and show I can perform if needed in the first team.

"Then it's down to the manager to what he sees fit. It's a case of all of us putting pressure on each other.

"I've been fairly happy with how things have gone. I haven't had masses to do but I feel that what I have done has been fairly steady."

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