Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reina all prepared for Europa League and wants fans to back them

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina expects Liverpool fans to keep faith with the Merseysiders despite the five-time European champions crashing out of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Debrecen, their first win in a month and only their second in 11 outings, was rendered irrelevant after Fiorentina edged past Lyon by the same scoreline in the other Group E match.

It means, regardless of results in the final round of matches next month, Rafa Benitez's side will enter the knockout stages of the far less prestigious UEFA Europa League in the new year.

Reina has already shifted focus to securing victory in the rebranded UEFA Cup and is sure the weary Liverpool fans can do the same.

'They will trust us, they will support us, they will be behind us and that's why they are Liverpool supporters,' said the 27-year-old. 'I don't need to tell them anything because they already know we always play 100 per cent.'

Failure to progress from the group stage heaps more pressure on beleaguered boss Benitez, although he was assured of his future last night by the club's managing director Christian Purslow.

The Spaniard faces an almighty battle to secure Champions League football next season, with Liverpool already 13 points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea.
However, Reina is confident that adding silverware of any form will be a huge filip for the club come the end of the season.

'Of course we're disappointed because the Champions League is a big competition that we've done well in for the last three or four years,' added the stopper. 'Now we're out, though. It's a tough competition and it's not always possible to get out of the group stage.
'The Europa League is another competition for us and we want to win it. It also has strong teams and it will be nice to play in it. It's already become a target. It'll be tough because there are so many good teams involved.

'We have to look forward and keep trying to win. We haven't had too many of those recently. We have to move on and keep fighting.'

Next up for Liverpool on Sunday is a trip to rivals Everton, themselves struggling on the domestic front. The Reds won the corresponding fixture 2-0 last season and have enjoyed the lion's share of the points up for grabs at Goodison Park in recent years.
And for Reina, there would be no better way to forget about Liverpool's European travails than with victory over the Toffees.

'To beat Everton is always huge, especially for the fans. We'll be trying because we also need to win in the league and in the race for fourth place.'

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