The time is right for Pepe Reina to leave Liverpool, but it should have been different

Pepe Reina's prolonged departure may leave a sour taste in the mouth of a few.

Pepe Reina's time as a Liverpool player has seemingly come to an end, with the goalkeeper very close to securing a move to Bayern Munich.

The writing was on the wall for Reina last season when Brendan Rodgers brought in Simon Mignolet from Sunderland last summer, and with the Spaniard sent to Serie A side Napoli on loan for a season.

Reina didn't do his chances of playing for Liverpool again much good by penning a letter to the fans and saying he was going to play for the best manager he had worked under in Rafa Benitez. He's entitled to that opinion, but it's not one he should have aired in public.

In many ways it is sad it ends this way for Pepe Reina - some would say he was the best goalkeeper Liverpool had ever since the sides that used to sweep to a league title year after year. 

Certainly, the fact he was the number one goalkeeper for five years makes him one of the most reliable the club has had in the Premier League era. The likes of David James, Sander Westerveld, Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland had all tried before - but Reina seemed to have cracked it.

He was a goalkeeper that wasn't afraid to come off his line, looked comfortable with the ball at his feet and distributed it as well. That, along with picking up three golden gloves in the Premier League for keeping the most clean sheets in one season endeared him as a fans' favourite.

Jamie Carragher has rated him as one of the best in Europe during his time at Anfield, but his form dipped considerably following the departure of Rafa Benitez in 2010 - along with goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero.

During the troubled times when Liverpool were seemingly on the brink of administration during the ownership era of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, his commitment to the club was admirable, even if he was going through a loss of form and had offers from elsewhere.

Whilst some remain unconvinced about the qualities of Simon Mignolet to perform for a club that wants to compete for the top prizes, the truth is Reina's form dropped significantly. Some suggest Reina will have been a better option but there had to be a point to move on from him - whether the replacement in Mignolet is the right one is another argument entirely.

Towards the end of Rodgers' first season at the club, Reina was strongly linked to Barcelona, and this time he seemed to entertain a move to the Nou Camp but that appeared to fall through. Rodgers didn't like it and rightly so. Combined with the loss of form it was the right time for him to move on, but it does leave a sour taste in the mouth of some of the Spaniard's avid fans.

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