Reina remains Reds' top stopper

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A rare Pepe Reina error may have handed Fulham all three points at Craven Cottage last night, but his form this season has again been impeccable for the Reds.

Clean sheets against Arsenal, West Brom, Swansea and Chelsea (in the Carling Cup) are just the top of a very big and important iceberg at Anfield.

Since his arrival in the summer of 2005, Reina has been an integral part of any success the Reds have since had after instantly taking the No.1 spot from Champions League hero Jerzy Dudek.

After keeping 20 Barclays Premier League clean sheets in his first season with the club, the Spanish international was inspired on a Champions League run that took Liverpool to a final defeat against AC Milan the following year.

Reina holds club records for the fastest goalkeeper to reach 50 and 100 clean sheets, and also made it 150 consecutive league appearances, ironically against Fulham, in May.

After admitting during the summer that there was interest in his services from a number of top clubs, most notably Arsenal, the goalkeeper decided to stick with Liverpool rather than move away.

It's a decision he does not regret, and one the fans should not either.

The best way to judge Reina's importance is to imagine where they would be without him. This is a keeper who has played every Carling Cup game this season, including trips to Exeter and Brighton, as well as all 14 league matches.

Factor in that, in all 18 matches, he's only conceded more than one goal once, and you soon seen how important this 29-year-old really is to Kenny Dalglish's cause.

Were the worst to happen and injury strike, Alexander Doni and Brad Jones would be the next in-line. Both lack top flight experience in English football, and would represent a gamble in contrast to their current stopper.

So, whilst last night's spill to Clint Dempsey cost the Reds a point, just remember how many extras he's saved not just this season, but in the past six years on Merseyside.

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