Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina proved last night that he doesn't want to become the next in a long line of Liverpool goalkeepers who feature heavily in howler videos.
Bruce Grobelaar's howlers were part of his make up, but he always recovered well to make some vital saves, and overall his contribution meant those howlers weren't so much of a problem. Add to that the fact that he probably didn't make as many as the press would have had you believe. David James followed him and was so bad that he got the nickname "Calamity". He improved enough after leaving Liverpool to become England's no 1 for a short time, the short time ending with some howlers. Brad Friedel also improved tenfold after leaving Anfield. Sander Westerveld made a few howlers in his Anfield career, and making some against Bolton early in the 2001-02 season saw him lose his place as then-boss Gerard Houllier brought in two keepers. One of those, Chris Kirkland, is now on loan at Wigan having failed to get established at Anfield – his problem hasn't been howlers though, just far too much bad luck with injuries. The other keeper bought back then was Jerzy Dudek, and although he's come close to leaving he's managed to retain his squad place at the club. His howlers were quite memorable too, but because of the freshness of them it's best we try to forget.
What is important after making a mistake is how the goalie reacts afterwards. As a Liverpool goalkeeper you'll have all your touches analysed in such a way that you actually can't make a good save. To simplify things, if you catch it then it was a poor shot, if you don't catch it you should have done. Other sayings like "good height for a keeper" and "looked nervous as he punched that ball away" will be thrown at you. As a Liverpool keeper it's best not to read the papers or listen to TV commentary.
Reina's return last night to action for Liverpool after his Derby error ended in another clean sheet, something that Reina has quite a collection of. Alongside his collection of clean sheets is his collection of excellent saves, but he didn't really add any to that last night. Instead he made saves of the standard required, and in doing so proved that he's not going to fall for overplaying of his errors. Everyone makes mistakes, every goalkeeper in the country and in the world makes mistakes, but few are so intensely analysed as Liverpool keepers.
He spoke to the Liverpool Echo today about the game last night, the local newspaper for the club that has journalists no-doubt having to listen to the nonsense from the blue quarter of the city even at work. Everton fans will still be celebrating that win in February when the next derby gets underway, but Reina is one of the few people working in the city that doesn't have to work with bluenoses (that's the polite term for Everton fans, in case you didn't know). Reina said that last night's draw was good for the team, but that maybe a draw was less than they deserved: "It meant a lot to us last night. We defended well and I think we may even have deserved a victory in the end. We played a lot better than on Saturday. We'd have preferred to win, but a point is enough."
Reina is happy to be part of the team, and he doesn't take all the credit for the clean sheets: "It was important not just for me to keep a clean sheet, but the whole team. It's better news for us. As a goalkeeper, I know I always have to walk the line between making a mistake and making a save."
He knows he's not heard the last of his mistake, but he really isn't bothered. He won't be allowing it to get to him: "I made a mistake on Saturday, but I always try to forget about it quickly. That's harder after a derby when there are people to remind you what happened. I know it was a mistake in an important game, but you just have to keep on going. I have experience, and I have made mistakes before and recovered. I have belief in myself."
Read the rest of the interview on the Liverpool Echo website, or buy the paper!