Liverpool’s long-serving goalkeeper Pepe Reina creaked the hinges on the Anfield exit door for the final time this week when he signed for Bayern Munchen in a deal worth a reported £2.5m.
The Spanish stopper will operate in an ancillary capacity to fellow World Cup-winning gloveman Manuel Neuer at the Allianz, allowing the Bavarians to boast what is arguably the finest net-minding department in the global game.
Brendan Rodgers’ disregarding of the former Villarreal man, however, is a dicey course of action to take as the club stock no back up capable of challenging Simon Mignolet for the number one jersey.
Joe Hart and Wojciech Szczesny are just two elite custodians to have allowed their standards to slip without a sufficiently able understudy to usurp them and Liverpool’s Belgian savesmith could be infected with the same debilitating complacency.
The ex-Sunderland man and one-time north-east Football Writers’ Player of the Year copped plenty of flack for the multitude of defensive calamities that ultimately pulled the rug out from beneath the Reds’ bid for a maiden Premier League title.
Mignolet’s critics and their razor tongues will be even quicker to disparage his abilities should similar floundering occur next season, especially given the club’s moves to reinforce the backline.
A rival to stiffen the goalkeeping competition could be the ingredient that brings about an elevation in standards and Reina would’ve done perfectly.
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The pair were evenly matched in many goalkeeping departments last term, though the departing half of the twosome enjoyed a superior goals conceded average.
Trophy-winning teams need competition coursing through their squad and this applies just as much to goalkeepers as it does to any other position.
In Reina, Liverpool had a keeper strong enough to ensure Mignolet’s laurels were never rested upon and allowing him to leave, especially for such a small sum, may well prove costly once more as they set out to land odds of 87/100 about them finishing in the top four for the second successive season.