Liverpool ‘hierarchy’ vetoed return of popular former player

Liverpool decided against bringing back Pepe Reina after ‘desperate’ Simon Mignolet’s departure.

Mignolet left Liverpool in August 2019 after a season as Alisson’s understudy, choosing instead to become a starter at Club Brugge.

The 32-year-old was ‘desperate to get away’ and feature regularly, according to The Athletic, who claim Pepe Reina ‘was keen on returning to Liverpool but the Anfield hierarchy felt that they needed a younger option’.

They instead signed sprightly 33-year-old free agent Adrian.

Alex McCarthy of Southampton was also considered for the back-up role but, much as with Ben Foster and Jack Butland this summer, Liverpool decided against it.

James Pearce writes that ‘there was never any prospect of the club dipping into the transfer market ahead of this week’s domestic deadline’.

‘Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards don’t do knee-jerk reactions,’ he adds.

‘They decided to keep faith with Adrian as Alisson’s deputy in the summer and that stance didn’t waver following events at Villa Park.’

Reina eventually joined Aston Villa instead on a short-term loan deal, conceding 20 goals in 12 games before moving to Lazio at the end of the season.

He remains one of the finest goalkeepers in Premier League history, keeping a phenomenal 134 clean sheets in 285 games for Liverpool between 2005 and 2014.

But the mysterious ‘Anfield hierarchy’ felt he was too old for the position at 37, so moved for compatriot Adrian instead.

Adrian has come under fire recently, teammate Marko Grujic joking that his performance in defeat to Villa ‘probably ended’ his career on Merseyside.

Jurgen Klopp defended the Spaniard after a mistake in Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid last season, noting that he had “saved us in so many moments when he played” before.

“He’s a man and he knows that’s how it is,” said the manager. “We will not blame him for a second – what you (the media) do, I don’t know, but stay respectful, that would be really nice.”

 

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