Reina philosophical about Torres exit
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina prepares to face former club-mate Fernando Torres tomorrow insisting he is not bitter about his compatriot's Anfield exit earlier this week.
The manner of the striker's £50m deadline-day transfer to Stamford Bridge provoked anger among some fans, especially after the 26-year-old said he felt he had now reached the highest level he could achieve by joining the Blues.
Earlier this week Liverpool vice-captain Jamie Carragher admitted there was a feeling among the squad since the summer that Torres wanted to leave. But Reina, his Spain team-mate, said Torres' decision did not matter now to Liverpool, repeating the mantra instilled by manager Kenny Dalglish that no-one is bigger than the club.
"It is football. It happens season after season, players come and go," said the goalkeeper. "Fernando was great for us in three and a half seasons. He did everything for this club. Maybe he did not leave at the right time but it was an opportunity for him and £50m in the bank is double the price which we paid for him.
"It is personal he decided to leave, he thought it was an opportunity for him to keep growing as a player and we have to respect that. Some of the people are saying now he is being disrespectful to Liverpool but in my eyes what Fernando gave to Liverpool was huge.
"He grew up with Liverpool and Liverpool, as a team, grew up with him. Players come and go on a daily basis but what stays is the club and the supporters - that is the most important part to the club."
Reina insisted despite Torres' suggestion Chelsea were a better prospect, the Merseysiders would always be capable of attracting good players. That was highlighted this week as, having lost one striker, they gained two new forwards with the purchase of £35m club record signing Andy Carroll from Newcastle and £22.8m Luis Suarez from Ajax.
"Liverpool will always attract big players," added Reina. "It is an historic club and one of the big four clubs in England and people will always want to come here."
Successful Suarez start
In their first match without Torres Liverpool beat Stoke 2-0 on Wednesday night to make it three successive victories and also three clean sheets. Suarez scored on his debut after coming off the substitutes' bench to ease the blow of losing their star striker to their Premier League rivals.
Reina was delighted to see the Uruguay international on target so early in his Reds career and is hopeful, with the team playing better and confidence the highest it has been all season, they can continue their improvement at Stamford Bridge.
"Hopefully that is the first one of many goals Luis will score. It was a happy moment for him," said the Spaniard. "We gave a good welcome to him and we will help him and Andy Carroll (the club's £35mrecord signing) as much as we can. It was important to get three wins in a row and we are a bit better now. We have to keep that momentum."
Dalglish has steered clear of adding any fuel to the fire over Torres potentially facing his former club so soon after leaving. The Scot, who in his short time in charge has worked to the principles instilled in him by the great Bob Paisley, only talks in depth about his club.
And despite rising confidence his seventh-placed side have an outside shot of sneaking into the top four by the end of the season, Dalglish played it down.
"Our ambition is to get as much as we can from the next game. It's the way I've been brought up. I don't see any need to change it," he said. "If it was good enough for two of the greatest British managers that ever lived (Paisley and Bill Shankly before him), I think it is good enough for me to adopt that principle as well.
"Of course it's a difficult game. Chelsea are a good side - but I don't think we are too bad either. They will be looking at us and see that we are on the up. They will be as concerned about us as we are about them. To have won three on the spin with three clean sheets will give us a lot of confidence."