Soccer

Thursday 24 July 2014

Rodgers denies Reina exit rumours

Carl Markham

Published 06/12/2012|05:00

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has flatly rejected suggestions he is looking to sell goalkeeper Jose Reina and placed his faith in the Spain international to regain his best form under him.

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Reports claimed the Reds boss was planning a January move for Birmingham's England goalkeeper Jack Butland or young German prospect Ron-Robert Zieler, throwing Reina's future into doubt.

However, Rodgers denied that was the case and, in breaking with his policy of not commenting on speculation, he stressed that goalkeeper was not a position he was looking at strengthening next month.

"I don't like to talk about speculation as the names we have been linked with have been incredible," he said.

"But what is worth putting on record is that I'm not looking for another goalkeeper.

"We have been linked with lots of goalkeepers. I have two very good goalkeepers – Pepe Reina and Brad Jones, who is a very loyal and capable No 2.

"Any areas we look to improve will be elsewhere."

Reina has had a poor last couple of seasons and, when he was ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury in October, Jones' performances led to questions about whether the Spaniard would regain his place.

He duly did when fit and Rodgers expects him to occupy the first-choice position for several years to come.

"Pepe Reina is clearly our No 1 goalkeeper, one of the best goalkeepers in the league," the Northern Irishman added. "He had a difficult couple of years, but, for me, his best years are ahead of him."

Reina is expected to start in Liverpool's crucial final Europa League Group A match against already-eliminated Udinese at the Stadio Friuli tonight.

Defeat would see them fail to make the last 32, but a positive result – providing they at least match Young Boys' display at home to Anzhi Makhachkala, who have already booked their place in the knockout stage – would see them go through.

Udinese v Liverpool,

Live, 3e/ITV4, 6.0

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