Downing: Reina back to his best

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Liverpool winger Stewart Downing believes Pepe Reina is back to his best form after a number of stunning saves in the Reds’ 4-0 away win at Wigan.

Despite the seemingly comfortable margin of result, important saves at crucial times from Reina to deny Emmerson Boyce and Franco Di Santo enabled Liverpool to take control of the match and gain an invaluable three points.

 Downing said after the game: “It’s hard for keepers. As players, we make many mistakes in games, but they get overshadowed by other things.

 “A keeper makes a mistake and it’s in the back of the net. It is a tough position to play.

 “But you see his save at 2-0 and if we had gone in 2-1 at half-time that would have made it more difficult.

 “People don’t tend to see that, but we as players could see it was an important save.

 “It gave us the platform to go on and get the third goal and it was easy from then on.

 “He’s a top-class goalkeeper. Everyone has dips in form and things like that. It’s about the way you bounce back and he certainly has.”

 Like Reina, Downing has also endured plenty of criticism himself not only this season but over the course of his Liverpool career.

 But after just two minutes on Saturday, Downing firmly erased those criticisms after he escaped his marker to head in Brazilian new-boy Philippe Coutinho’s cross.

 The £8.5 million January signing from Inter Milan also provided the pass for Luis Suarez to score the first of his hat-trick.

 Downing added: “[Coutinho]'s had two good games. He will find it hard physically because this is different from the two leagues he’s played in.

 “I think he’s settled in well and he’s had two really good performances.

 “If he can keep playing like that — and with Luis Suarez banging in the goals — then we’ve got a really good chance.”


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Stewart Downing
Jose Reina
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