Plenty of eyebrows were raised when he left the club on loan, but Pepe Reina has hinted at returning to Merseyside...
Reina has said he will return to Liverpool in the summer, but Rodgers seems open to selling him, citing a goodbye letter that Reina wrote to Liverpool fans.
In that letter Reina said that Liverpool deserved to be in the top four, challenging for trophies and he believed they could ‘reach those levels again.’
The Spaniard went on to say in that letter: “I am disappointed that I will not be part of that although it was not my decision to leave I will accept it just like I have always accepted any decision that Liverpool have taken for me.
“It is only natural that I would be disappointed that the Liverpool management agreed to loan me to Napoli without telling me first, I thought that I deserved better than that even though I understand that difficult decisions have to be taken in football.”
He reiterated that he would fight for his place in the side if there was no offer from Barcelona – where Reina had started of his professional career.
Whilst a lot of it said goodbye, like Rodgers said, Reina did sign off the letter with: “I would like nothing better than to come back at the end of my year away and for Liverpool to be back where they belong.”
Rodgers was quoted in this morning’s papers, saying: “I was surprised a loan player wrote a letter. I would suspect that he should come back but obviously Pepe made it very clear that when he went to Napoli he was looking to move.
“He penned a great big letter saying he was going to work with the best manager that he’d worked with and thanked us for his time at Liverpool. So for me it probably sounded like he’d made his decision there.”
As addressed in his letter, there was speculation that Reina would want to move away from Liverpool – with Victor Valdes seemingly moving from the Nou Camp, Reina was linked with a move back to Barcelona. That didn't materialise and Reina was still at Liverpool.
It seems as though the departure was less than acrimonious on both sides. Reina’s form since the departure of Rafa Benitez hadn’t been great, and Simon Mignolet was brought in amongst all the speculation of Reina’s possible move back to La Liga.
Rodgers was right to act at the time to bring in Mignolet, but to close the door completely on a top class goalkeeper may not be the wisest thing to do. However, you could argue his words are serving as a boost to his current goalkeeper as Mignolet does retain the confidence of his manager for now.
It’s a tricky situation for the Liverpool manager. Maybe he was trying to get the side to move on from the past and put his own stamp on the team – though many have said Reina would have been the perfect goalkeeper for Rodgers’ style of play.
If there is any hint that he thought Reina’s heart wasn’t in it at Liverpool, then Rodgers has probably played it well. But only time will tell if the manager of the goalkeeper will be vindicated.
image: © Eric The Fish (2013)