Curtis Jones interview: Carabao Cup hunger, fitness and Diogo 'the ghost' Jota

PreviewCurtis Jones interview: Carabao Cup hunger, fitness and Diogo 'the ghost' Jota

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Curtis Jones has hailed the 'world-class' qualities of Diogo Jota – and revealed the new nickname he has for his Liverpool teammate.

Jota has been in fine form for the Reds since returning from injury in December, scoring three goals and providing three assists in his last five matches.

The Portugal international netted twice in his side's 4-0 win at AFC Bournemouth last weekend, and ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Fulham on Wednesday, Jones paid tribute to the No.20's unique skillset.

He told Liverpoolfc.com: "I'm at the point now where I call him 'the ghost' because he's one of them where you think he's not involved in the game, and then he'll pick up the ball and it'll turn into a goal!

"I've been around a lot of world-class strikers from my Academy days into the U21s and then the [senior] team, and he's right up there. When the game isn't going his way, it's quite easy for a striker to not be on the ball and not impact the game, but Jots is always in the game.

"Even when, say, his touch is a little bit loose and it's not going right, the ball will bounce around the box and it's a Jota goal, and you think, 'Only Jots could do that!'"

Jones added: "To have him in the team is amazing. He's a huge help, he always runs and when his confidence is the way it is now, there's no doubt that in every single game he's going to get goals."

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Liverpool head to Craven Cottage carrying a narrow 2-1 lead from the first leg at Anfield earlier this month, with Jones having scored the equalising goal that night.

And though the incentive to reach a record 14th League Cup final is an obvious one, the 22-year-old knows Jürgen Klopp's side will need to dig deep if they are to make it to Wembley next month.

"You can't ask for any more," Jones said. "It's a semi-final against a difficult team. Yes, we are in the lead but it's a tough place to go against a good team, so it'll be a difficult game.

"But we are at a point now where we want to be in all the finals at the end of the season. We want to be looking back on this to say it was a new team but we caught [a] bond very quickly and we finished on a high. So these are the games that are the important ones."

He continued: "It's a scoreline that if they get the first goal, at home, of course they know they are going to have the fans behind them. But that's what we expect coming across a Premier League team, [that] it's going to be a hard game, so we expect it, it won't be a surprise.

"But the team we've got, the form we're in, we'll expect to go there and get the win and get the job done."

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Jones is confident of being fit for the encounter despite feeling some discomfort towards the end of the win at Bournemouth.

"I'm good," he said. "I just had a little bit of pain in my hamstring, which I'd had for a couple of days. I had a scan on my leg and the muscle is fine.

"There was a little bit of tendon pain, so it'll be there for a little while. But I'm fine and ready to go."

Liverpool are also set to welcome back Andy Robertson to their squad, with the Scotland captain having been sidelined since October with a shoulder injury.

"He's a big, big part of our team and always has been, and not only for his football," Jones said of the left-back. "It's more his character around the place as well.

"He's been through a hard time with the injury and how long he's been out, but every time he's been around he's been the exact same lad he is, he always wants to have a laugh, always got a smile on his face with the lads who are doing well.

"And with the young lads who are coming in and playing games – Conor [Bradley], for example – he's always around them. Con would say himself that when he's played games and done well he'll always have a text off him if he's done well, [and it is the] same with Harvey [Elliott] and the likes of Cody [Gakpo], Dom [Szoboszlai] who came in.

"He's a family man, if you like. It's really good to see him back and we can't wait to have him around the team again."

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