Liverpool outcast returns from loan deal - could he be in the starting XI?

Pepe Reina

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina has returned to Liverpool after his loan spell at Napoli - should he be pushing Simon Mignolet for the No. 1 jersey?

The Reds were expected to strengthen their defence this summer having seen their defensive frailties cost them the Premier League title, but with the departure of star striker Luis Suarez taking priority, we've mostly seen attacking players arrive at Anfield so far.

Southampton's Dejan Lovren is seemingly poised to join the club, but one of the recurring rumours is that Liverpool will look to add a second choice goalkeeper in order to push Mignolet. The Belgian endured an inconsistent first season at Anfield after his move from Sunderland last summer, and the belief has been that more competition would push him to his best form.

Yet whilst Brad Jones offers little competition, the returning Reina could be the man they need. The Spaniard was clearly unfancied by manager Brendan Rodgers this time last year, and he was promptly loaned out to Napoli following the capture of Mignolet to reunite with former Reds boss Rafael Benitez in Italy.

Now, with the Serie A side unwilling to pay Reina's wages, the Spanish international is now back at Anfield and training with the first team ahead of the new season - and says he doesn't plan to leave.

"I have a contract to respect with Liverpool. I'm training well and I am perfectly fine with my team-mates. I am here to stay," said the former Barcelona stopper. "I have not talked to Brendan Rodgers, I've been here for only four days and I am just thinking of training to my best and getting back into shape. At the moment all the big Spanish teams are covered in my role, so I see it as very difficult to return to Spain."

The 31-year-old was a reliable player under a number of Liverpool managers, yet now he finds himself on the fringes of the setup at Anfield. Reina had a good season at Napoli and comes back with a point to prove. After Mignolet's shaky first season, he certainly has the chance to not only push Mignolet, but potentially win his starting position back.

Whether Rodgers would be willing to admit his error and reinstate Reina is another matter, but his experience and love for the club should at least count for something as the season draws closer.

Should Reina or Mignolet start for Liverpool?

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