Brendan Rodgers says Pepe Reina's schooling at the famed Barcelona academy makes him an ideal exponent of the new system being adopted at Liverpool.
Rodgers is implementing a style at Liverpool based around short passing and ball retention, similar to mentality at the Camp Nou - a place where Reina learnt his trade during the early stages of his career.
Reina spent six years in the Barcelona youth system before graduating to the first-team in 2000, where he made a total of 49 appearances prior to leaving Barca for Villarreal and then, of course, moved to Liverpool.
The 30-year-old has established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League since joining Liverpool, although there have been concerns raised this season regarding his ability to adapt to Rodgers' style.
Reina has been linked with a January exit from Liverpool, should he not prove in the meantime he is capable of fitting with the system, and has made a number of errors already this term.
But Rodgers has faith in Reina to become more reliable as the season progresses, and says the shot-stopper has impressed him as much as any other player with his application and commitment in Liverpool training.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Pepe,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.
“He’s a keeper who has really impressed me. He’s a good guy who comes in and works hard every day.
“Like all the other players here he’s trying to improve and become a better player.
“Pepe has been here for a number of years and has proved himself over a long period of time.
“He’s obviously adapting to a new style but this is a way of working which is perfect for Pepe.
“He came through the Barcelona model so he understands this way of playing and what I’m trying to do perfectly.
“He’s working very hard to get in the best possible moment in his game.
“As a team, we just need to cut out the kind of mistakes we’ve been making. If we do that then everyone will benefit from that, including Pepe.”
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