Liverpool searching for 'next Reina'

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Liverpool goalkeeper coach John Achterberg has revealed how the club are looking to replicate the skills of Pepe Reina in the juniors rising through the ranks at the academy.

The Spanish stopper has been an ever-present at Anfield since his arrival on Merseyside in 2005, with the 29-year-old a first choice under managers Rafa Benitez, Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish.

And, whilst Achterberg admits it will be difficult to judge at such an early-stage if a player has the ability to match Reina's ability, it won't stop the Reds from trying to do just that.

"There are decent 'keepers in the Academy. It's difficult to say how they'll keep progressing, but at the moment there are a few who are progressing well, and we all try to work in the same way," he told the official Liverpool website.

"The first-team sessions are copied at every step down. We obviously change the speed but the rest, the movements and the way we train, is the same, because we're trying to create a 'Liverpool goalkeeper' to suit the way we play."

Achterberg is one of five specialist coaches in the position at the club, with the Dutchman ensuring every goalkeeper is assessed and reported on at every level.

Reina is at the top of the Liverpool tree, and his style-of-play is one that Achterberg believes is crucial to the way the defence can play in-front of the No.1.

"The way we play is with a high line with Pepe sweeping up. When balls get played into space, the goalkeeper can sweep up. That's the way we work with every goalkeeper to try and create a goalkeeper for the first team," he added.

"There aren't too many who could play for Liverpool with the way we play. We expect him to be half a sweeper and there aren't too many 'keepers who could do that job. That's always the way Liverpool have played.

"There are some other teams around the world: Barcelona play like that, Real Madrid do, and Ajax used to play this kind of football. This is why we try to put the same training sessions through the whole of our system.

"It would be great if we could produce a goalkeeper who plays like Pepe. I'm a bit obsessed to try and improve everything and create the best atmosphere between the 'keepers and the staff, and also with the goalkeepers in the Academy."

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Jose Reina
Premier League

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