Benitez hails 'improving' Reina

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez hailed Jose Reina as "one of the best goalkeepers in the world" after a singular piece of brilliance helped the side to a 2-0 victory in the 212th Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

Leading through Joseph Yobo's 12th-minute own goal from a deflected Javier Mascherano shot, the Reds were coming under increasing pressure in the second half.

With 20 minutes remaining Reina pulled off one of the saves of the season when he dived low to his left to keep out Tim Cahill's header and then sprung to his feet to block Marouane Fellaini's follow-up.

Both Benitez and Everton boss David Moyes agreed it was a turning point as, with 10 minutes to go, Dirk Kuyt made the game safe by scoring from close range after substitute Albert Riera's shot was half-saved by Tim Howard.

"When we signed him we knew he was a good keeper and he is improving here," said Benitez of Reina.

"Xavi Valero, our goalkeeping coach, is doing a really good job with him and you can see him improving every day.

"For me he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and (yesterday) he showed why.

"It was a great save. In this situation he was amazing."

Benitez was also pleased with the defensive performance after a second successive clean sheet made it five matches without defeat.

"The team defending was very good and that is another positive thing for the future," said the Spaniard, who felt vice-captain Jamie Carragher was returning to form after a shaky start to the season.

"Daniel Agger and Carragher were doing a good job but Mascherano and Lucas Leiva were working so hard in the midfield, helping the defence.

"Carra is the one who can organise them. He showed character again because, after the beginning of the season, he is doing well again."

The victory moved Liverpool up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League, just two points behind Arsenal, but Benitez issued a note of caution to his players.

"Always it is important to win and winning games in a row is the key if you want to stay high and in the top four," he said.

"We have to go one game at a time. We have done our job and we have some days to go before Blackburn (next Saturday) so we have to enjoy it and then prepare the team for the next week and hopefully a victory."

Benitez is hopeful of having Fernando Torres back for that game after the striker sat out his fourth successive match because of a groin problem.

"We were testing Fernando on Saturday. He told me he still had a little bit of pain, but he is improving," said the Liverpool boss.

"He is progressing and next week hopefully we can test him again."

Everton are just three points above the relegation zone but Moyes was happy with the performance.

"I don't feel we came off the pitch losers. The players worked extremely hard and I felt they deserved more than what they got," he said.

"The deflected goal took the sting out of us but I thought the players reacted great.

"They kept going and I thought in the main we kept Liverpool quiet.

"It is disappointing you don't get anything from that but overall I thought the players did a good job.

"I've got encouragement from that but it doesn't change our position."

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