Liverpool’s Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina would, along with a number of other key players, almost certainly want to leave Liverpool should the new owners carry out their alleged threat to sack manager Rafa Benitez, but for now insists that the players are not allowing the fuss to distract them from their football. He said: “It’s not affecting us. It is not always easy, but all we can do is play football and show how good we are on the pitch.”
Reina was speaking ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with Porto at Anfield. If Liverpool can win this game then their chances of qualification are back again, something that seemed highly unlikely after the half-way point of the group stage when they had just one point from nine available. He says a win tonight would set them up for a big match away to Marseilles in two weeks: “First of all it doesn’t just depend upon this result,” he said. “We want to keep playing in the Champions League for a long time and so we must look to get three points and then play Marseille in what would be a final.”
Liverpool’s form is good right now. They beat Besiktas 8-0, Fulham 2-0 and then after the international break recorded another win with a clean sheet, 3-0 over Newcastle: “We are in a good moment. We have had some important wins in a row and now we need to target the Champions League because we are still depending on ourselves. If we win we know we can still qualify. We are Liverpool and that is the way it has been for years.”
Reina was asked about the 8-0 win: “It has given us some respect, it was a great win, but it was also just a win. We now have two games that are important for us. It was just one good night and now we have to keep winning. Porto is another game and it will probably prove more difficult than that night.”
The atmosphere is expected to be something special tonight, in what will surely be a memorable night, whatever happens. Supporters are gathering at the Sandon on Oakfield Road, which is a continuation of Walton Breck Road, for 6.30pm. From there they will march to Anfield showing their support of a manager that simply must not be sacked under these circumstances. A lot of fans, without tickets for the game, have pledged to show up just to show their support for the manager. Those with tickets will continue to show their support inside the ground, in a way that Liverpool fans have become famous for.
If you’ve not done so already, please sign the online petition in support of Rafa.