'Special' Reina wins praise

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Pepe Reina is the best goalkeeper currently operating in the Barclays Premier League, according to Liverpool coach John Achterberg.

Outside of Anfield, the Spaniard is widely regarded as one of the finest custodians in the top-flight, and has notched up 231 league appearances for the Reds since joining the club in 2005.

But Liverpool goalkeeping supremo Achterberg does not believe there is anybody better than Reina, both for shot-stopping and distribution.

"He is up at the top," Achterberg told Liverpoolfc.tv when asked where Reina.

"His reading of the game is special. He reacts sometimes before the pass has happened. He already knows and is three or four seconds quicker than other 'keepers.

"And when we play on the break, when we win the ball back from free-kicks or corners, he's very good at setting up counter-attacks with his way of distributing. He picks the right passes 90 per cent of the time."

Reina, though, came under criticism of sorts last Saturday when a few fumbles presented Swansea with opportunities to steal three points against Liverpool.

But, says Achterberg, the 29-year-old is mentally strong enough to move on quickly and focus on the job at hand.

"Pepe responds really well to it, doesn't let it affect him," he added.

"He gets on with it and is ready for the next one. If you let it affect you it gives you a problem for the rest of the game, because it affects the team and it affects your performance.

"It's a pressure you have to deal with. You have to be mentally strong to be a goalkeeper.

"If you make a mistake there can be a lot of criticism: the press; supporters, teammates, staff. You have to rise above it and carry on with your job.

"I haven't seen many goalkeepers who make fewer mistakes."

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