Liverpool keeper outcast could benefit from rival's knee injury misfortune

Rafael is out for six months and Napoli could therefore be willing to keep Pepe Reina next season.

When Liverpool decided to replace Pepe Reina in the summer with Simon Mignolet it came as a surprise to many.

Reina has been a loyal servant to The Reds but Brendan Rodgers had obviously lost faith in the Spaniard - and the Belgian international arrived from Sunderland.

With that in mind Reina was looking for a new team - and joined up with former boss Rafa Benitez at Serie A side Napoli in the summer.

Things have gone quite well for him in Campania, despite some fitness concerns, and he obviously wants to stay - making that clear in a recent interview:

"I'm very happy here and my family's happy too. I'll be here right to the end, but not even I know what will happen after. I'm here now, but I've got to return to Liverpool, although it's unlikely I'll stay there…Obviously I also wanted to get to know a different league while it was Liverpool who took the first step by not wanting me anymore because they were placing their faith in a younger goalkeeper."

Unfortunately for Reina Napoli seem to have made it clear from early on that they wanted to place their faith in young Brazilian Rafael from next season.

He arrived at the club days before Reina for a fee of €5 million from Santos in the summer and has featured sporadically this campaign.

However, with Reina in between the sticks he has mainly been a bench player this campaign, with the view to being number one next season - leaving Reina looking for a new venture.

Although Napoli might now be asking him to stick around.

Rafael impressed in the first-half of his sides Europa League tie against Swansea City - but went off at half-time with a knee problem.

It has now been confirmed that he has ruptured a cruciate ligament in his right knee and will be going under the knife to repair the damage on Monday.

He is reportedly set for around six months on the side-lines - but with the unpredictability of knee problems like this Napoli will surely want to consider keeping Reina again for next season.

It is unfortunate for the young stopper, who clearly has a career at the top of the footballing pyramid ahead of him - but for Reina it might just give him the chance to stay where he is, much to his apparent pleasure.

image: © Eric The Fish (2013)

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