Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed he expects long-time Liverpool servant Pepe Reina to leave the club after the player wrote a letter upon his Anfield exit, criticising the manner in which his loan to Napoli was handled.
He’s already written his (goodbye) letter hasn't he? I was surprised at the letter when you are a loan player so I would suspect that he should come back.
But Pepe made it very clear when he went to Napoli he was looking to move, as he penned a great big letter saying he was going to work with the best manager that he’d worked with and thanked for his time for Liverpool. So for me it probably sounded like he’d made his decision there.
Reina joined the Serie A club last summer on loan and has established himself as their No. 1 under Rafael Benitez, playing 24 times this season, per WhoScored.
However, upon his departure from Merseyside, Reina penned a letter on his personal website in which he claimed the loan deal was struck behind his back:
If I have one regret, it is the way that I am leaving. 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 was made surplus to requirements after Rodgers' purchase of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland last summer. However, there was the opportunity for the Spaniard to return to compete for a first-team spot, but this now looks unlikely.
Rodgers often uses the loan system to give players a chance to impress him elsewhere, as he has with Jordon Ibe and Andre Wisdom this term. But Reina's criticisms of the club make it difficult for bridges to be rebuilt.
Reina's form for Napoli has been good, as Serie A football writer Nikolas Postinger tweeted following his vital save in Thursday's Europa League win over Swansea:
Pepe Reina has been so solid for Napoli tonight. Another brilliant save.— Nikolas Postinger (@nikpostinger) February 27, 2014
The keeper had an excellent career at Liverpool, winning the FA Cup, but it was little surprise when he was shown the door after Mignolet's capture. If he has any aspirations to play in this summer's World Cup he needed to get games under his belt and not warm the Reds' bench.
Furthermore, Rodgers needed to raise funds for new players, and Reina had become one of Liverpool's higher earners.
Who is better?
Liverpool have shown they are more of a forward-thinking club now, and moving on from the old guard has been an important factor for Rodgers. This approach has introduced hunger to the side, and ultimately a better chance of capturing their first league championship in a generation.
Mignolet has looked shaky at times in the Liverpool goal but time must be afforded for him to settle. Rodgers still needs to purchase a world-class centre-back and help protect his new goalkeeper, but this cannot happen until the next window.
If Rodgers can improve his defence, and the number of clean sheets kept by Mignolet, Liverpool have shown they have the attack to sweep them to a Premier League title in the next few seasons.