Liverpool heading in right direction - Reina

Pepe Reina (right) has yet to recover from a hamstring injury. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Pepe Reina (right) has yet to recover from a hamstring injury. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 00:00

Soccer: Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina believes the club is well-positioned for a push on the top four next season after a season of change at Anfield.

Reina reckons Brendan Rodgers's side, currently seventh in the Premier League, have the potential to compete for a top-four berth in the near future, but will need the board to back the manager in the transfer market if they are to do so.

"This year has been important for us in terms of getting to know what the manager wants and develop the ideas," he said. "Then we have to be ready for the very first game of next season to challenge.

"Obviously we will need some help from the board but I think the basis is well settled. We know the ideas and philosophies of the manager. It is getting better and better so hopefully we will be ready to compete."

The 30-year-old Spain international also stressed the importance of keeping Uruguay striker Luis Suarez - the Premier League's top scorer with 21 goals so far this season - at Anfield.

"Liverpool is very lucky to have Luis," Reina said. "Every day I am proud to say that I share a dressing room with such a big player. He is 100 per cent all the time. Obviously we will see what happens in the future. Everybody wants him to stay with the team.

"He can create the chances himself from nothing. He can be a killer in the box. But he can also provide assistance to the team and be involved all the time. He is not just a proper striker in the box. He looks to create but it is very important for any team to have that 25-plus goals-per-season striker."

Joe Cole, however, has claimed he never should have joined Liverpool, but says he is happy again at West Ham and intends to see out his career at Upton Park.

Cole returned to West Ham for a second spell in January, after two-and-a-half forgettable years at Anfield. He concedes that he made a mistake in heading for Merseyside as a free agent in 2010, after seeing his contract run down at Chelsea.

Cole says he never adapted to life at Liverpool, but claims he was left with little choice but to make a move as he could not bring himself to turn out for Tottenham.

The 31-year-old midfielder said in The Sun: "I can only play for teams that I'm passionate about and I think that's what went wrong for me at Liverpool. I didn't feel a connection with the club or the place that I had at Chelsea and West Ham.

"I had seven great years at Chelsea but the club wanted to go in a certain direction and I wasn't involved. So I was left with two real options - Liverpool or Spurs. Spurs was probably the best option because they were offering me a five-year deal and it meant I could stay in familiar surroundings.

"But I just couldn't do it, I just couldn't see myself pulling that Spurs shirt over my head. With the rivalry between Spurs and West Ham and Chelsea, it felt a bit mercenary."

Having rejoined the club that helped to launch his career, Cole is hoping to recapture his best form and hang up his boots as a West Ham player.

He added: "I was missing London and my family and I had a personal tragedy in December when my brother-in-law died. I got an opportunity to go back to West Ham and I don't want to move any more."

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