With news emerging of Pepe Reina’s deal with Bayern Munich, there will be a significant contingent of Liverpool fans that won’t necessarily be sorry to see the Spanish stopper go.
However, the Spaniard has been a loyal servant to the club over the years and it must not be forgotten just how important Reina has been to their success over the years.
Yes, Reina had a dip in form over the last couple of years which stick in the memory more than his successes, his concentration slipping in a couple of memorable moments.
This is always the case with goalkeepers; people remember the errors more than the number of points saved by solid but unspectacular performances.
One of the best
This dip in form, however, should not categorise how Reina is remembered on Merseyside. He was a cornerstone of Rafa Benitez’s early years of management at Anfield, winning the golden glove for his first three years at Anfield.
It is no coincidence that Reina’s decline came at the same time as the end of Liverpool’s permanence in the Champions League spots.
He was, on his day, a fantastic shot-stopper and his distribution from the back remains amongst the best in Europe and it is perhaps surprising, given Simon Mignolet’s similar inconsistency and Liverpool’s preferred style of quick counter attack, that Rodgers has not shown any faith in the Spaniard.
Time on his side
At 31, Reina remains some way from retirement and it may simply be an issue of not being able to afford two international goalkeepers at the club at the same time.
Reina, then, will be re-united with a man he spent time with at Camp Nou in his younger years in Pep Guardiola. Again, he is unlikely to displace Manuel Neuer as first goalkeeper, but Reina had stagnated at Liverpool and it was time to move on.
In making 394 appearances for the club, Reina played more times for Liverpool than several who are regarded as legends at the club, including Robbie Fowler.
Reina will not be remembered in the same way they are, but it must not be forgotten just how important he was for Liverpool for a time.