Pepe Reina

Pepe Reina set to backup Manuel Neuer after move to Bayern Munich


We knew Pepe Reina was unlikely to stay with Liverpool, but coming off a season where he started 30 games for Napoli in Serie A, most thought he’d end up somewhere where he could be number one. Particularly with Claudio Bravo moving to Barcelona, one place Reina might settle for a part-time role, the Spanish international looked likely to move farther down the European ladder, with Napoli Rafa Benítez declined to buy-out his deal at Anfield.

Not so, says today’s news. Instead of prioritizing playing time, the 31-year-old has climbed up the European ladder, joining German champions Bayern Munich for a fee that’s believed to be $4.2 million. With Manuel Neuer entrenched at Bayern, Reina will assume a backup role, the first time since 2001-02 he hasn’t been a team’s number one.

From club chairmen Karl-Heinze Rummineige, as posted to the club’s website:

“Pepe Reina was eager to come to Bayern Munich. He wanted to embark on this adventure even though he knows that, in Manuel Neuer, he has a keeper in front of him who, if nothing changes, will always remain the number one.”

Bayern had previously been linked with Costa Rican international Keylor Navas, who eventually moved from Levante to Real Madrid. While that signing would have given München an extravagant backup, Reina isn’t much of a step down. Though the former Barcelona, Villarreal, and Liverpool player eventually lost his job at Anfield, he’s still capable of starting for quality European club.

Instead, Reina has opted to rejoin Guardiola, with whom he played during his first season in Barcelona. While the move may also indicate he’s closer to his career’s final stage, it gives him a chance to add to an honors list that includes a World Cup, two European Championships, an FA Cup, and a Coppa Italia.

Klopp’s Liverpool squad enthusiasm: “Everything is there”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp is unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC during a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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It isn’t Dortmund, but that’s a good thing for Liverpool.

Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene for Jurgen Klopp’s unveiling as the latest Reds manager, and the 48-year-old German had a lot to say.

Perhaps most poignant for Liverpool fans are Klopp’s words on the talent he inherits from Brendan Rodgers. Sure there are quips that will hit the headlines, but how about Klopp’s assertion that success shouldn’t take nearly as long as his dramatic work at BVB.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“We did in Dortmund what we had to do, to improve the players, to work for a common idea of play. That is what we did and its the same thing we want to do here. They are not the same players of course,” Klopp told NBC Sports ProSoccerTalk. “These players from Liverpool are better, more experienced in some ways and younger in other cases. Everything is okay, I am here. I am not here only because LFC was calling. I believe in the potential of this team. Four or five strikers you can work with when they are not injured, midfielders is really good, defenders experienced and very young, goalkeeper is really good. Everything is there.”

Everything. A powerful word and one that doesn’t get lost in translation. Liverpool has a batch of world class talent, and Klopp’s is anxious to organize it in world class fashion. Strap in, Anfield.

CONCACAF Cup preview: Ultimate guide to USMNT vs Mexico

Beasley, and other US veterans, have been asked to take the young guys under their wing.
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So here we go: the biggest rivalry in U.S. Soccer, the one that sends fans racing for the stadia for a glimpse of history.

It’s the U.S. and Mexico for the right to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, and it will play out at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

National pride is on the line, and national jobs may rightly be in jeopardy. Let’s swing through our coverage, and what’s at stake in just over 24 hours time.

The Battles

Who is the key to Saturday’s match? Is it Michael Bradley? Fabian Johnson? Andres Guardado? Will Klinsmann opt for players with Liga MX experience, stay Euro Heavy, or appease the domestic set? Read more here.

The XI

So how will Klinsmann line ’em up? JPW has his preference, some options, and a prediction of what the manager will do.

The history

What are the chances this one finds its way into the upper echelon of matches in the Mexico/U.S. rivalry? This is the company it could join.

Klinsmann’s future

The folks in the anti-Klinsmann brigade seethe with pure detestation of the USMNT boss. Any quote from him is self-serving and dishonest, any success accidental. Beat Germany or the Netherlands in friendlies on the road? Coincidental and Unimportant. Lose a friendly to Brazil? The worst thing ever.

[ MORE: The case for firing Klinsmann after a loss ]

So this match, being meaningful and testing his unbeaten mark vs Mexico, is going to be a clarion call for U.S. Soccer fans. Barring a cataclysmic loss in horrific blowout fashion, he won’t be canned. But a win will be validation for his supporters while a loss would cue a genuine hot seat. And for his detractors, already foaming at the mouth from the words of icon Landon Donovan? Kablammo.