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Rafa lauds Reina as deal done

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina is the best in the Premier League, according to manager Rafael Benitez, which is why he is delighted the Spaniard has agreed to a contract extension at Anfield.

The 27-year-old Spain international has committed to a new deal to ward off interest from a number of Europe's top clubs. Reina has been Liverpool's player of the season and, with 12 clean sheets, is in the running for the league's Golden Glove award with injured Chelsea rival Petr Cech.

"We are really pleased because I remember at the beginning people said 'for England, in the air, he is not the best'," said Benitez.

"He is the best in England, miles away from the others, and we are really pleased to keep him here for a long time. Sometimes the style of goalkeepers is for them to be really good in the six-yard box, Pepe is really good in the 18-yard box."

Benitez said Reina's performance in last Sunday's 2-1 victory over Blackburn, when he made a brilliant stoppage-time save from Chris Samba's goalbound header, illustrated his class.

"When you talk about a goalkeeper in a top side he normally doesn't have much to do," he added. "To be involved in this game especially at the end and the save shows the level of the player."

Reina has agreed to sign a new deal, while Benitez is confident midfielder Javier Mascherano will also extend his stay.

Referring to Mascherano, the Spaniard added: "Everything is very close and no problems.

"I was talking with Mascherano and his agent the other day and it is true Javier is happier."

Asked if a deal would be struck before the end of the season the Spaniard said: "I think so."