Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has rubbished speculation linking Pepe Reina with a move away from Anfield and insists the goalkeeper is part of his long-term vision for the club.
The Spanish goalkeeper's form this term has fallen well below the high standards set in previous seasons although it has done little to deter talk of a summer switch away from the Merseyside club with Arsenal and Barcelona both reportedly interested.
However, Rodgers has moved to quell rumors of Reina's exit and maintains that the 30-year-old will remain an integral part of his squad for some time yet.
"He's never been unsettled and our relationship is very strong," Rodgers told the Guardian. "I have given him and a few of the senior boys real responsibility and I think they have enjoyed that. I see him as someone who is going to be here [next season].
"He is 30 years of age and is someone who looks after his body. The sports science team this year have worked really well with him. I think he's been outstanding and had great focus and hopefully that will continue for us."
Reina’s father, Miguel, revealed that the Reds’ shot-stopper could return to former club Barcelona to replace Victor Valdes, but Rodgers has dismissed the links as pure speculation and is adamant that Reina is committed to Liverpool.
"Pepe and I speak a lot. He's a good man and I've got real respect for him as a player and as a human being," the Northern Irishman added. "He understands everything we are trying to do here and is a great voice in the little debriefing meetings we have with the group and with the defenders and other goalkeepers. He's brilliant.
"And on a personal level we'll sit and have a cup of tea in the office and we'll chat about where he's at with his game and how he can improve. I think a lot of the stuff this year has been based on speculation with [Victor] Valdés going, or possibly going, there have been links they [Barcelona] will be in for another keeper. His dad has said some things and whatever."
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