By Matthew Stanger in Lisbon
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has defended Loris Karius after the club’s current No.1 was criticised for his recent performances.
Liverpool were stunned by Bournemouth on Sunday as Eddie Howe’s side fought back from 3-1 down to snatch a 4-3 victory in the final minute. In the inquest that followed, questions were raised over Karius’ contribution - particularly his involvement in Nathan Ake’s late winner for the hosts.
But Reina, who made nearly 400 Premier League appearances in nine years at Anfield, has voiced his support for the 23-year-old.
“I think he doesn’t need any encouragement. I think he’s a brilliant goalkeeper who is doing really well,” said Reina.
Speaking after Napoli secured their place in the Champions League last 16 with an impressive 2-1 win away to Benfica, Reina said that the Liverpool team as a whole need to do more to protect Karius.
“It’s a team, you know, that also at times has to do better for the goalkeeper,” he added.
Despite the defeat to Bournemouth, Reina is confident Liverpool will make a quick recovery. The Reds host West Ham on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp hoping his side will be inspired by their midweek trip to watch Barcelona beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-0 in the Champions League.
“I think they will do really well this season and I’m happy for them,” said Reina.