Liverpool FC Player Profile – Jose ‘Pepe’ Reina

Jose Reina is Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper and rated by many as one of the best goalkeepers in the world of football. Born in Madrid in 1982, Reina is the son of former Barcelona and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Miguel Reina, who also represented his country Spain.

Jose, nick named Pepe, Reina began his football career with the youth academy at FC Barcelona after initially playing in Barcelona’s reserve team he made thirty appearances for the first team in the 2000-2001 season, incidentally making two appearances against Liverpool in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup. The following season he was dropped from the Barcelona first team and secured a loan move to Villarreal in 2002 making his move permanent in 2004, he made over 100 appearances for the club. Reina signed for Liverpool in 2005 by then manager Rafael Benitez, who described him as the best goalkeeper in Spain.

Reina was immediately installed as the first choice goalkeeper at Anfield, making his debut against Welsh side Total Network Solutions in a Champions League qualifying game in July of 2005 and a month later he won his first cap for his national team Spain.

The Spaniard became an immediate favourite with the fans at Liverpool, famed for his accurate distribution of the ball and his fantastic penalty saves, he had saved seven of the nine penalties he faced in his previous season with Villarreal. During his first season at Liverpool he was part of the team that set a club record for eleven consecutive games without conceding a goal.

At the end of his first season with Liverpool, Reina played in the FA Cup Final against West Ham United. An amazing game saw the scores level at 3-3 after extra time and the match was then decided on penalty kicks, the amazing shot stopper then obliged by saving three of West Ham’s penalty kicks to secure a 3-1 shoot out victory for the Reds.

After his first fifty games for the Reds, Reina had not conceded a goal in twenty eight of those matches, setting a new club record which had been previously held by the legendary Ray Clemence. Later that season he was on hand again as Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in the Champions League semi-final, he followed in his father’s footsteps by appearing in the European Cup Final, unfortunately the Reds lost 2-1 to AC Milan in the final.

Having made over 300 appearances for the first team, Reina signed a new six year contract with Liverpool in 2010 and although he has still to become the first choice as goalkeeper for his national side he has already become a Liverpool legend.

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What Are the Qualities of a Football Team Striker?

Every team is like a useless pack of cards if there are no good strikers because you can’t win a match without scoring goals and you can’t score goals without having potent strikers. The question then is who is a striker? And what are the qualities of a good striker?

A striker is a football player whose responsibility is to score goals. This simply means that if a striker cannot score goals then he should not be in the team in the first place.

Now, let’s look at the qualities of a good striker or forward. A good striker should have a clear vision just like a good goalkeeper. A good striker should be able to convert any chance to a goal. But he cannot just take his chances if he cannot see very well.

A good striker should have speed. This is where counter attack comes into play. If the strikers in a team lack speed then counter attacks become useless. If you take a look at Spanish, Argentine and Brazilian national teams you will appreciate the value of speed to any striker. Spanish, Argentine and Brazilian teams are so good at counter attacks simply because they have strikers that can move with the ball so fast.

A good striker should have what I call “goal sense”. This simply means that he or she should know when to use the head or leg. He or she should know when to tap in the ball. He or she should know when to pass the ball to another player that is better positioned to score the goal. He or she should also know when to be selfish with the ball.

A good striker should have inner strength, vigor, stamina, or energy. He or she should be able to surmount any kind of opposition once he or she is with the ball. Great strikers of our time such as Samuel Eto’o Fils of Cameroon and FC Barcelona of Spain, Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast and Chelsea FC of England and Wayne Rooney of England and Manchester United of England are some graphic examples of strikers that have the much needed strength.

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