PEPE REINA claims that £85million new boy Darwin Nunez will more than just fill Sadio Mane’s gigantic boots at Liverpool.
The Senegal talisman departed Anfield for Bayern Munich after six years of outstanding service in which he contributed a frightening 168 goals and won every single major trophy at stake.
And Jurgen Klopp acted swiftly to bring in the refined Uruguayan finisher who caught his eye in last season’s Champions League quarter-final showdowns against Benfica.
He is now confronted with the vertiginous task of replacing his free-scoring predecessor though.
But for Reina, who defended Liverpool’s goal 394 times during an eight-year spell, Liverpool have actually become BETTER due to Darwin’s towering presence which offers a never seen dimension to their vibrant attack.
He told SunSport: “Darwin and Mane are two great players of a certain stature.
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“Let’s find out what Darwin can bring to the squad with the help of his teammates.
“But this swap makes sense and it can be a great thing for the club.
“Liverpool have a great variety of players but they needed someone who can hold up the ball and play one-two passes.
“And thanks to Darwin they are perfect in attack.”
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Reina was pushed out the door in summer 2013 to make way for incoming Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with Brendan Rodgers keen to revamp an ageing side that had languished for years in the doldrums.
But the 39-year-old Villarreal veteran goalkeeper insisted that he has moved on.
That departure, however painful at the time, paved the way for transfers to European super clubs Napoli, Bayern Munich and AC Milan.
Reina said: “I have no regrets because for eight years I was the club’s number one goalkeeper, playing nearly 400 games. I can’t moan about anything.
“In the end it had to happen and we went our separate ways. All things considered, things didn’t go too badly for me since then.
“So, with hindsight, at the time it was the right call.”
Liverpool have a great variety of players but they needed someone who can hold up the ball and play one-two passes. And thanks to Darwin they are perfect in attack
Reina has observed Liverpool’s staggering rise from afar in recent years.
And far from begrudging the club’s success, he heaped praise on the stunning transformation it has undergone.
He said: “Liverpool are a healthy club and a benchmark worldwide.
“The team, the players, the technical staff and the whole environment exude positivity.
“The Premier League is a beautiful league and Liverpool are an incredible side.”
Completing a clean sweep of trophies after coming within a whisker of doing so last term is not beyond Liverpool.
But contesting the domestic trophies and European glory with Pep Guardiola’s Man City as their closest antagonists remains a tall order.
He admitted: “Liverpool can win the Quadruple. But in Man City they have a huge rival, they are really good.
“And it will again be a great race for the league title between Liverpool and Manchester City. I think no one else will fight for the title.
“As for Arsenal, it would already be good for them if they qualify for the Champions League.”
Reina was named Liverpool’s Player of the Year in 2010 and notched three Premier League Golden Gloves.
Liverpool have had three number ones since he left to reunite with former Kop boss Rafa Benitez at Napoli nine years ago.
But it was only after two failed experiments with Mignolet and Loris Karius that the club finally managed to fill the Spaniard’s void in 2017.
And Reina feels that Alisson belongs to the pantheon of goalkeeping greats as he ticks all the boxes.
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He said: “For me Alisson is one of the best and most complete and best goalkeepers in the world.
“Alisson is perfect for the way Liverpool want to play. And he’s helped the team a lot in winning trophies.”