Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers continues to play down reports linking Pepe Reina with a summer exit from the club, Sky Sports understands.
Earlier this season, Reina lost his place in the Reds’ starting XI to Australia international Brad Jones, who joined Liverpool from Middlesbrough in a deal worth £2.3 million in August 2010.
Jones, 31, has made 15 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool in 2012-13.
Reina has since reclaimed his place in the Reds’ first-team, but the Spain international’s future remains up in the air.
Recent reports have suggested that FC Barcelona are lining up a move for Reina, with No. 1 Victor Valdes expected to leave the club after revealing he will not put pen to paper on a new deal at the Camp Nou.
However, Rodgers has affirmed that Reina is part of his future plans at Anfield, despite contrasting rumours.
“I think a lot of the stuff this year has just been based on the speculation that Valdes is going,” said Rodgers.
“I am counting on him for next season, yes. He’s never been unsettled and our relationship is very strong.
“Pepe and I speak a lot. He’s a good man and I’ve real respect for him.”
Reina, 30, has started 32 competitive matches — all of which have come in the English Premier League and/or the UEFA Europa League — for Liverpool this season.
Heskey pens Jets’ extension
Former England international striker Emile Heskey has signed a new deal with A-League side Newcastle United Jets F.C., Sky Sports reports.
The new deal will keep Heskey at Hunter Stadium in New South Wales until 2014.
Heskey, who joined the Jets in September, was nominated for the club’s Player of the Year award after scoring nine goals in 24 appearances this past season.
The 35-year-old has his sights set on a top-six place next term after the Jets failed to qualify for the 2012-13 A-League Finals Series.
“I’m pleased to be extending my stay in Newcastle for another year,” Heskey told the Jets’ official website.
“Everyone has made me feel very welcome here and I’ve really enjoyed my first season playing for the Jets.
“I’m looking forward to getting a full pre-season under my belt and helping the team push for a finals place next season.”
The Newcastle Jets finished the 2012-13 A-League campaign in eighth-place, having tallied 31 points — one adrift of sixth-place finishers Perth Glory — from 27 league fixtures (8-7-12).
Western Sydney Wanderers won the A-League by three points over Central Coast Mariners, claiming their rightful place in the 2014 AFC Champions League.