Reina: Reds could catch Chelsea

Liverpool’s goalkeeper Jose “Pepe” Reina says that the Reds will push Chelsea for top spot until it’s no longer possible to catch them. The European Champions are currently 12 points from the top, but with a game in hand there’s still a chance that the gap could close. Liverpool’s recent run of clean sheets and victories has helped them move closer to last season’s Premiership winners, and Pepe says they want to keep going: “It is difficult to catch Chelsea but we will try as there is a long way to go.”

Speaking to BBC Sport, the Spanish number 2 said: “It is possible to catch them. If we play like we have been doing for the rest of the season we will catch them. At this moment Chelsea are a very good team and the strongest in the Premiership but we will see.”

The sweeper-keeper has been a big part of the reason why Liverpool’s improvement has been so marked in the league this season. The defenders and the keeper are comfortable and confident with each other, especially the trio of Reina, Carra and Hyypia. Reina has the ability to clear danger up quickly by coming off his goal-line early, and after taking advice from boss Rafa Benitez to punch rather than catch crosses, he’s adapted very quickly to the English game. Reina himself feels there wasn’t a great deal for him to do in order to adapt: “I feel good. The teamwork and team-mates are really good. Football is football in every country and continent and it is not too much different than Spanish football.”

Team spirit is noticeably better at the club than it has been for some time. Rafa has ensured that his players all get on with each other and this plays a big part in those clean sheets. If a player makes a mistake his mate is there waiting to help him out: “It is important the defence and all the team together is working hard. The defensive system we have now is very good. We are a strong team and we play compact and narrow. We play all together and run together and our teamwork is a big factor.”

Reina wasn’t a Liverpool player until the summer, but saw the problems Liverpool had domestically from TV coverage back in Spain. This current squad believes in itself and with every win the confidence increases. Pepe wants this to continue, but should anyone get too confident last season’s Premiership problems are there to remind them: “Confidence is high. We must learn from the last year and we will try to improve in the right way – that’s how we must continue.”