On This Day in 2005 Pepe Reina Signed For Liverpool

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Written by: Daniel Ghorbal @danghorbal

On this day in 2005, Liverpool signed goalkeeper Pepe Reina from Villareal for a fee of £6 million. Joining at the age of 22, you’d think that the Spaniard was relatively inexperienced, however he joined with 175 professional appearances already under his name, mostly with Barcelona and Villareal. During his first season, Reina was the cup hero, saving 3 penalties in the FA cup final win over West Ham, earning a trophy and a glamorous reputation so early on into his Liverpool career.

Unfortunately, Reina did not quite build on this positive start he made, struggling throughout the early stages of the 2006/07 campaign. Like all good managers should do though, Rafa Benitez kept the faith in his national counterpart despite poor performances, and eventually Reina began showing why Jerzy Dudek, the Istanbul hero was being kept out of the side.

Reina’s gradually improving form continued in the following campaign, whereby he kept more clean sheets than any other Premier League goalkeeper and subsequently won the Golden Glove award. In addition to this, Reina broke the record for the shortest amount of games required to keep 50 clean sheets. He surpassed the record previously held by Ray Clemence, reaching 50 in just 92 matches.

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Pepe Reina was now starting to be a really crucial player for the club. During a difficult 09/10 season, Reina was undoubtedly one of Liverpool’s most consistent players, and if it wasn’t for his instinctive reactions, the reds’ league position could have been even worse than what was already a mediocre 7th. For the 2nd time, he won the Golden Glove award too, equalling Petr Cech’s 17 clean sheets kept during the campaign.

By this stage in his Liverpool career, Reina was closing in on 200 appearances and fairly reliable for the club, but like any other player, he was prone to having a spell of bad form and was beginning to make mistakes that were proving costly for the team. Pepe still made 38 league appearances though, doing so for the 3rd successive season. One notable incident during this season, albeit through no fault of his own was the comical beach ball incident. When Darren Bent’s shot was deflected off a stray beach ball, Reina was wrong-footed and left bamboozled.

Beachball drama aside, Reina won another trophy for the club the following the season, winning the League Cup after beating Cardiff on penalties. Reina’s passion after winning the shootout implied his passion for the game, and his attitude and desire whist at the club was always first class. Reina began the Rodgers era as his number 1, but after one season decided to leave the club and join Napoli, departing after 8 seasons at Anfield. Pepe will be remembered as a successful keeper for the club, winning 2 trophies and contributing heavily to many good times at the club.

Written by: Daniel Ghorbal @danghorbal

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