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Liverpool target Kenwyne Jones says he didn't ask to leave Sunderland – and is fully focused on helping his club arrest its slide.

The striker was the subject of intense speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool in the January transfer window.

Birmingham and Stoke were also tracking the Trinidad & Tobago forward, but there was no firm bid from anyone and Jones has responded in the best possible way, netting a crucial equaliser against Wigan on Saturday.

He said: "During the transfer window and throughout all the speculation I have never said I wanted to leave.

"Everything that was going on was by itself. I think a lot of people were making a lot out of nothing.

"If a transfer is going to happen for anyone, it only happens when it's done. All that was said, doesn't really bother me. I am just looking forward to playing football.

"I don't have control of what is in the Press. All I can control is my performance and that is what I aim to do."

Boss Steve Bruce was concerned that talk of Liverpool's interest had unsettled Jones last month, but he has produced two committed displays since the transfer window closed and bagged his seventh goal of the season at the weekend.

Mo Diame's scorching first-half opener for Wigan heaped even more pressure on Sunderland – who haven't won a league game since November – but the home side improved after the break and Jones netted a deserved 64th-minute leveller.

It was only his second goal in 14 games and he said: "I haven't scored for a while but thankfully I was able to get one.

"We had a beautiful passage of play leading up to the goal and it was great to finish it off.

"We haven't won in the last 12 or 13 games so it would have been a relief to get three points in the bag. We were much better in the second half and perhaps should have got the win, but it wasn't to be.

"We'll go again at Portsmouth and hopefully get our rewards.

"We're getting into a pattern of playing well in the second half of games but not starting too well. If we can sort that out then I'm sure we'll get better results."

Jordan Henderson's perfect cross created Jones's goal, but the 19-year-old midfielder was then stretchered off in a lot of distress with what looked like a serious ankle injury.

Jones added: "By his reaction, it did not look great for Jordan. He has done well for us and all the boys are with him and wish him a speedy recovery."