Liverpool's Poor Treatment of Pepe Reina Will Hit Chances of Keeping Luis Suarez
Liverpool's choice to send Pepe Reina out to Napoli on loan is understandable, but the way they have handled it reflects poorly on them, and can only hurt the chances of keeping Luis Suarez next season.
Brendan Rodgers' signing of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland doubtless affected Reina's chances of first-team football. The natural course of action for a 30-year-old goalkeeper who still has plenty to offer would be to look for another club, but Reina has told Liverpool fans that he was actually never told about the move.
UK newspaper The Sun reported his disappointment:
It is only natural that I would be disappointed that the Liverpool management agreed to loan me to Napoli without telling me first, I thought that I deserved better than that even though I understand that difficult decisions have to be taken in football.
Reina has been at Liverpool for eight years since Rafa Benitez signed him from Villarreal. As the official Liverpool website records, he played 395 times for them. Whether you feel that he deserves more respect than to be moved on without discussion or not doesn't matter—but the one man it may matter to is Suarez.
Suarez is Liverpool's star player, who appears to have his heart set on a move out of Anfield. Real Madrid is believed to be his preferred choice of club, but Arsenal have also made an offer of £40,000,001 to try to sign him.
He is a Uruguayan 26-year-old to whom the club have so far shown unstinting loyalty.
When he was accused of racially abusing Patrice Evra of Manchester United, his teammates and even manager Kenny Dalglish wore t-shirts in his honour.
When he bit Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in a league match last season, he was censured by Liverpool, but they were still upset that he was punished so severely with a 10-match ban.
They have backed him every way that they can—and Rodgers has said as much on the club's preseason tour, in quotes picked up by The Daily Telegraph:
In the period of time he's missed a lot of games for various reasons and the people have stood by him like a son and really looked after him.
So I'm sure that whatever happens in the coming weeks that will be on his mind because it's certainly something you can never forget.
Rodgers' argument is that Liverpool's loyalty should be repaid by Suarez's loyalty.
But if the striker looks at the way a senior player like Reina (a player, incidentally, with no reputation for trouble-making) has been treated the moment he falls out of favour, then what loyalty can he point to?
Both are Spanish speakers, so it wouldn't take long for Suarez to catch up with his former teammate and get a firsthand take on his exit.
So if the loyalty card is undermined, then what do Liverpool have left to convince a player approaching his prime who could lead the line for just about any club in the world to stay?
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