The question of Pepe Reina

Posted: May 9, 2012 in LFC Posts
Tags: , , ,

I’ve always been a big fan of Pepe Reina. He’s been a fantastic goalkeeper for Liverpool. In the seasons 05/06, 06/07 & 07/08 Pepe won the Golden Glove Award presented to keepers who keep the most clean sheets in a season. In fact, Reina’s three awards are more times than any other goalkeeper. In each of those seasons Pepe kept 20, 19 & 18 clean sheets respectively. Reina has been the best last-line of defense any team could ask for. Who can forget his extra-time and penalty shoot out heroics in the 2006 FA Cup win over West Ham and the fantastic penalty saves he made against Chelsea in 2007 Champions League semi-final win at Anfield? Signing for the Reds in 2005 from Villareal, Reina has had six excellent and consistent years between the sticks. But things have changed and, just like the Liverpool team itself, Reina is now looking suspect and it’s not just me who thinks that, Reina himself believes he has had a poor season: “I don’t think my season has been good at all. It has been below my standards and I know I haven’t been great. There have been a number of mistakes by me. I had six really good years before this and people got used to that level from me, but sometimes you have a dip in form and must accept it.” A “number of mistakes” seems a bit of an understatement as the reality is Reina hasn’t made a decent save for several weeks with his judgment seemingly deserting him. In the latter part of the season he’s been beaten too easily and on a consistent basis, especially at the near post. Van Persie’s extra-time winner for Arsenal at Anfield and the first goal against us in the FA Cup final last Saturday are two classic examples of just how much Pepe’s form has deserted him. Ramires shot had Reina once again going down too early and leaving his near post exposed. The Reina of a few seasons ago would never have allowed that shot to get past him.

I found statistics up until the end of March which highlight Reina’s dip in form. It showed that in his last six games he was conceding a goal every 54 minutes versus a season-average of 87.1. In comparison, Joe Hart had conceded a goal every 180 minutes (2 games) versus his season average of 122.73. Quite the contrast. Now I understand statistics alone can be deceiving as a solid defensive unit will help keep the number of scoring opportunities for the opposition down to a minimum but it is still a troubling stat. The question is do Liverpool keep the faith with Reina and trust he will work hard, as he always does, and get himself back to his consistent best or should Liverpool be looking to sign a new, highly talented, goalkeeper? To me the answer is straightforward. Yes and yes. I believe Reina is such a dedicated professional that sets himself extremely high standards that he should be given the opportunity to prove he can regain the form he once showed. In turn, however, we need to bring a new quality goalkeeper to Anfield to challenge Pepe. If Pepe recovers his form then great and we have a first-rate back-up keeper but if Reina’s form continues to desert him then Liverpool have someone who can step in and do a first-rate job.

Comments
  1. ledrakenoir says:

    A good post – a goalkeeper relies on his defense and when they ‘fall down’ then clears the keeper often with them – as it ran good for LFC with Daniel and Martin in center defense at that time stood Reina also better this year – than as replacements in the front he – made unrest in the ranks of the back’linie – Reina’s red card just shows the frustration because our defense had a downer – it infact at the goalkeeper – very human I think… ;-)

    • Barry Ringstead says:

      I totally agree the red card showed Reina’s frustration with the defense and maybe his own current form.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree and disagree with this writer, Pepe has been a consistent goalkeeper for us over the years, but when you compare him to Joe Hart you’re not comparing like with like (and yes I know all the defensive stats show us having the best back four this season, but Joe Hart has got a back four in front of him that is very unlikely to concede goals because of the way Man. City play, their first priority is to defend before going forward. When you open up like we did on Saturday, as if we were the Red Sea, leaving Pepe exposed, and even then he was slightly unlucky, with it deflecting off his knee into the net, which he can’t really do alot about. I am however worried about his backup. Doni is not a Liverpool goalkeeper, as we saw against Blackburn a couple of weeks ago. I still have faith in Brad Jones as a goal keeper, but I realise his family traumas off the field have rightly put football into second place for him. My solution is bringing another goalkeeper to replace Doni and to give Jones a run in the team for Carling Cup, and Europa League, thereby giving him more experience so that when Pepe does suffer an injury or a lack of serious form Brad does have first team experience.

    • Barry Ringstead says:

      Thanks for the great comment and I agree it would be interesting to see just what Brad Jones could do if given an extended run in the Carling Cup.

  3. ledrakenoir says:

    Off topic – I will just say that I have posted this on WordPress … ;-)

    http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/wordpress-award-nomination/

    • Barry Ringstead says:

      That’s really great of you and thank you for the kind words, it really is appreciated. Congratulations on your nomination, very well deserved!!

      Oh and I saw Pink Floyd live during their “Dark Side of the Moon” tour in Liverpool in 1973!

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