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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee