Liverpool manager Rodgers lays down the gauntlet to Reina

Brendan Rodgers has opened the door for a first team return to Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, but the manager has warned the Spain international that he has to prove he deserves to be ahead of Brad Jones in the pecking order, the Daily Mail has reported.

Jones has held the gloves for the last seven games after Reina injured his hamstring while on international duty but now the latter is fully recovered, he is expected to start for the Reds against Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Liverpool have conceded a goal a game during Jones’ tenure between the posts, keeping clean sheets against Reading and Anzhi Makhachkala, but conceding three goals in the League Cup to Swansea City and blowing a two-goal lead against Everton in the Merseyside derby.

Reina has been at Liverpool for more than seven years now, signed by Rafael Benitez in 2005 and standing as the uncontested No. 1 for much of that time. The 30-year-old has played more than 300 games for the Anfield club, a stark contrast to Jones’ 14 appearances in his two seasons on Merseyside.

Rodgers was at pains to stress that while he values Reina’s ability, he needs to see more from player to justify picking him ahead of Jones. Pointing to the misfortune of Joe Hart for England in midweek, Rodgers said: “He has been very impressive since I came here and it’s all about confidence. It happens to every goalkeeper. Look at Joe Hart against Sweden.

It’s important for any player to know they have a challenge. Brad had been here two years and played four games, once from the bench. He’s played 10 games this season and done well, which is a credit to him.

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