Slimline Reina's best years are yet to come
Jose Reina has been told by Brendan Rodgers his best years lie ahead at Liverpool after the Spain international responded to a loss of form by shedding more than half a stone.
The 30-year-old goalkeeper has struggled for 18 months and his performances prompted Rodgers to speak to him about how he fitted into Liverpool’s new style.
Reina has responded with extra training at Melwood and, as Rodgers put it, “now he is committed to the plan of what we are all trying to do”.
Reina’s form has been encouraging since returning from a seven-match absence with a hamstring strain and Rodgers, speaking before their Europa League group game at Udinese tonight, believes the goalkeeper can remain number one at Anfield for the next three years of his contract.
Rodgers has a strong squad in Italy for a tie Liverpool must win to guarantee qualification for the knock-out phase. A draw would do if Young Boys do not beat Anzhi Makhachkala.
Striker Luis Suarez is set to start his first Europa League match away from home.The Uruguay international is suspended for Sunday’s trip to West Ham, which means there is no need to rest him, so will lead the line as the team looks to secure qualification for the last 32 but captain Steven Gerrard has been left behind due to illness.
Other senior first-team players travelling include Reina, defenders Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel and forwards Raheem Sterling and Suso.