The 30-year-old goalkeeper missed Liverpool’s win over Reading last weekend and their Europa league win over Anzhi Makhachkala in midweek.
However Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has given the whole club, the players and the fans a huge lift by revealing that the Spaniard is expected to be fit for their crucial Merseyside derby clash with archrivals Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday lunchtime.
“Pepe is back in training," he revealed,
"So that's good news. He's working well and we'll assess him over the next 24 to 48 hours."
However, Rodgers may have a selection dilemma, should Reina pass fitness tests for Sunday, as his understudy Brad Jones kept clean sheets in both games, covering in Reina’s absence.
His manager was quick to praise Australian who at 30-years-old has spent the majority of his senior career on loan from Middlesbrough and Liverpool, respectively and has made only 66 appearances in his ten years in the top flight of English football.
“Brad's been excellent. The goalkeepers join in a lot of our work in training. They get involved in a lot of the possession work. Brad's temperament has been excellent. I think he has come in and looked a real presence in the goal.”
Perhaps the quintessential second-choice goalkeeper has finally got (and taken) his opportunity to prove himself worthy of a regular place in the starting line-up. Certainly keeping consecutive clean sheets won’t have done his reputation or his confidence any harm, though.
"The nature of his game has been good and when he has been asked to make a save he has. So I've been really pleased with Brad since he has come in and played a number of our Europa League games and done very well,” Rodgers continued.
I expect Reina will be between the sticks for Liverpool this weekend. I think the fixture list has perhaps been unkind to the unfortunate Jones who, against weaker and less vilified opposition, might have kept him place in goal.
“You need that competition with goalkeepers," he added. But make no mistake – if Reina’s fit, he plays. Rodgers can’t afford to take chances against 4th place Everton. Not now. Not ever.
image: © froderamone