Reina thrilled with return to form

Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina believes he is back on form after admitting he had a rough patch at the start of the season.

Hulk of Zenit scores the opening goal past goalkeeper Pepe Reina of Liverpool

Successive goalless draws may not have done much for the seventh-placed Reds' hopes of reeling in the teams above them but the clean sheets are certainly welcomed by the Spain international.

He is now third in this Premier League's list of shut-outs behind Manchester City and England's Joe Hart and Chelsea's Petr Cech, whom he faces at Anfield on Sunday.

"I'm happy because we've already kept more clean sheets than last season but there's still plenty of room to improve it," said Reina, who has twice been hampered by injury this season.

"As I said a few months back, there have been a few ups and downs.

"The start of the season was a bit rough to me: since November/December I have probably turned the corner and picked the form up again.

"Hopefully it will stay for long. As I always do, I do my best and work hard on a daily basis.

"I looked after myself a little bit better in the last few months and tried to be as fit as possible.

"It's not about keeping clean sheets, it's about finding the right balance between attack and defence.

"Because of our position in the league, we haven't found it quite yet."

Reina is looking forward to renewing rivalries with old foes Chelsea, who will have a familiar face in their dug-out in the form of former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez - who signed Reina from Villarreal.

"A few years back (when Liverpool were in the Champions League) we were almost playing three, four, five times every season against them. Every game was huge," he told liverpoolfc.com.

"It hasn't changed a lot, to be honest, and it's always special when you face Chelsea."

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers said Benitez deserves the expected rapturous welcome at Anfield after winning the Champions League with them in 2005.

"It won't be strange in any way at all," he said.

"It is a club with supporters who are very respectful. They still sing Kenny's (Dalglish) name and rightly so, a legend at the club as a player and a manager.

"There is absolutely no question Rafael Benitez will get an excellent reception because of the great work he did here.

"The football club as a whole always respect former players and managers.

"He obviously had a real good time here, won the Champions League and FA Cup in his six years here, so I am sure he will get a fantastic reception."



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