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Pepe Reina future in doubt after Simon Mignolet’s Anfield arrival

June 26, 2013

Mignolet

Liverpool has signed the Belgian goalie, Simon Mignolet from Sunderland for GBP 9 million with few add ons. Though, this transfer may be the right way ahead for Brendan Rodgers, but what future does Pepe Reina, current Liverpool number 1 hold with Liverpool, who has been on radar of Barcelona and few other clubs.

Pepe Reina had made it clear during the time when Liverpool’s interest in Mignolet was just a rumour that he is going to stay with Liverpool even if Mignolet sign for reds and would fight for his place. To make things easier for Reina, Brendan Rodgers stated that Mignolet is only a rival to Reina as far as the number one goalie is concerned and has not signed Mignolet as a replacement for Pepe Reina. How true is this, Brendan?

But, with the signing already done, it would not be surprise if Pepe Reina decides to leave Anfield, in spite of Reina giving a number of assurances to the club that he is not going to leave the club. On the other hand, Liverpool also know how key figure is Reina to their plans, but still may consider him selling, as he is one of the highest wage earners in the club. Liverpool cannot afford to bench big wage earners in the bench. With the acquisition of Mignolet, it would be also highly unlikely that two top goalkeepers would be playing for the same side and the benched player will be happy with it. How many teams in world football have two top goalies?

Pepe Reina won the Premier league golden glove three times in his Liverpool career, but he has not been able to replicate such kind of form after Rafa Benitez left Anfield. He has struggled as well making some huge mistakes, conceding soft goals. But, in the second half of last season, Reina showed some improvement in his game and came up with brilliant saves, which reminded fans of his best days in Liverpool colours. But, he is still nowhere close to what he was in his prime days with Liverpool.

If Mignloet is under the bar next season, Liverpool will miss Reina a lot, who has been one of the most vocal players , sometimes drilling some killer passes to strikers upfront as well. When it comes to ball distribution, there is no better goalie than Reina in the Premier League along with his comfort level with the ball on his feet being a major characteristic. Mignolet may not be such a silky passer, but he is one who is very consistent under the bar, where his shot stopping ability is second to none, at which Reina also excels. Reina may be erratic at times, when he comes out to clear the ball, but Mignolet is composed in this regard and scores a point over Reina.

Mignolet may have less experience of playing in the English Premier League, as he was only signed by Sunderland two seasons ago. But, it is during his two seasons at Sunderland that he showed his class and the world began to sit up and take notice. Especially, it was his goalkeeping exploits last season, which must have prompted Liverpool to sign the goalie. But, one has to remember that there is a big difference when one represents Sunderland and Liverpool football club. There is always an air of expectations as soon as one wears that Liverpool jersey. Many players have failed to live up to that expectations, which include Charlie Adam, Andy Carroll, Robbie Keane etc. The fans expect you to be on top of the game every week. Can Mignolet handle the pressure from such a big club?

It is at this juncture, where Liverpool holding onto Reina seems logical, as he would be able to help the goalie understand the Liverpool culture and share his personal experience of dealing with such a big club. Not everyone picks this culture instantly. The sooner the better. Not everyone is Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho, who has instantly become an Anfield favourite. While some take years like Lucas did. Former Sunderland player, Jordan Henderson took some time to adjust life at the Merseyside after Kenny Dalglish signed him from Sunderland and has gradually become a hit amongst many supporters, if not all. So, if Reina decides to stay at Anfield, irrespective of he being the first goalie or not, will help the Belgian keeper grow at Anfield.

With Liverpool’s first game of the season in August 17, it is only then we would know as to who is the first choice goalie for Liverpool – Reina or Mignolet, provided Reina is not sold to other club.

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