Brendan Rodgers has challenged Pepe Reina to return to the form which made him Liverpool’s number one goalkeeper.
The 30-year-old has missed the last seven matches with a hamstring injury, and the Anfield boss has told the Spaniard he faces a challenge in regaining his place after Brad Jones has impressed in his absence.
However, the World Cup winner is poised to return to the first team in place of the Australian for the game against Wigan on Saturday, and the manager is confident in his overall quality.
“I have no doubt with Pepe Reina,” he told The Daily Mail.
“He has been very impressive since I came here and it’s all about confidence. It happens to every goalkeeper. Look at Joe Hart against Sweden.
“He didn’t seem to have that same happiness and physicality he had a few months ago. I have one of the top goalkeepers in the world, a top guy who is intent on making himself a better keeper and when we have that we have one of the best in Europe.”
He continued: “He is really committed to his work, a model professional. I have been talking regularly with him to help him get back to the levels that he wants to be at.
“Pepe is determined to be a top goalkeeper here for next the nine or 10 years.”
Jones has coped admirably in place of Reina with a number of good performances this season, particularly during Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea – and Rodgers believes the competition between the two goalkeepers can only benefit the side.
“It’s important for any player to know they have a challenge,” Rodgers added.
“Brad had been here two years and played four games, once from the bench. He’s played 10 games this season and done well, which is a credit to him.”