Curtis Jones insisted he never lost faith he would earn a Liverpool revival after coming through a “tough time” to establish himself as a first-team regular.
The 22-year-old midfielder’s quickfire double helped the in-form Reds to a comfortable 3-0 win at relegation-threatened Leicester on Monday.
Jones has now started the Reds’ last nine Premier League games having previously only made two starts all season, with a shin injury sidelining him until mid-October.
He has also scored three goals in his last four appearances – ending an 18-month drought – to help Liverpool in their late Champions League charge with Jurgen Klopp’s side fifth and a point behind the top four.
The England Under-21 international told the club’s official site: “In terms of confidence, I’ve always been the same lad. I’ve always had the belief in myself but it’s been a tough time, I’ve had the injuries and stuff so I’ve not really had a full run of games in the past.
“But I came in against Chelsea and I kept my shirt and I’ve still got the shirt now. I’m enjoying it, I’m being humble and keeping my feet on the ground and I know what it takes, so that’s what I’m doing.
“Being a kid in the academy days I’ve always scored goals and I wouldn’t say I’ve been the star kid but I’ve always been the kid who has jumped up the age groups.
“Then I came around the first team and it was kind of a shock where the whole of the game changes, so I’ve had to make a change to the whole of my game. But I’m adapting well and I think it’s the best run I’ve had for a while.”
Jones struck twice in three first-half minutes against Leicester before Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 25-yard effort added the gloss.
It left Leicester two points from safety with two games left and Jamie Vardy admitted they need to win at Newcastle on Monday and in the final-day visit of West Ham to stand a chance of surviving.
“We’ve got to put it straight to the back of our minds now,” the striker told the club’s official site. “We’ve got to focus on the next two games and we’ve got to pick two wins up. It’ll be tough but we know we’ve got the talent in that dressing room. It needs to click.
“We’ve got two games left and the minimum we can have is two wins just to give ourselves a chance.
“So, we’ll get back on that training pitch, spend all week looking at Newcastle, how we can exploit the weaknesses and how we stop, obviously, their strengths.
“We’ve got to make sure that we put the 90-minute effort in next week to pick up a win.”