I have obviously been absent for the last few weeks, but I am back (until something else comes up). Obviously I post my impressions of each individual player after each games along with a numerical rating. I am now going to attempt to rate each player's season and offer a few comments from my point of view. I do not have a photographic memory so please feel free to post your comments and reflections on the individual players as you saw them for last season. I intend for these to be very interactive. For those of you new to this game, remember 1=horrific, 10=unreal, 6=is about average.
Pepe Reina - 6 - His game slipped a little last season; there is no doubt about that. He made a number of mistakes, especially towards the end of the season and none was bigger than his headbutting of James Perch. Granted, Perch flopped like a circus diver into a tiny pool of water, but Reina never should have put himself in that situation. While it may not have cost us a trip to Wembley, it did put the team in an awkward situation.
More after the jump:
His reactions and reaction saves have become hit or miss. He was beat near post a number of times, a big no no for a keeper. He seems to have lost his edge as a penalty stopper. Well, actually he hasn't really had it since the 2005/2006 FA Cup final. The idea that he was a born and bred penalty stopper was a bit overstated.
Now for the good, he is still extremely reliable. He has made mistakes, but he makes few laughable errors. Sure there were saves that he missed, but few if any were simple easy saves (no hand of clod or Gomes-esque type errors). In addition, he brings a level of calm and assurance to the back line. They are used to him, he is used to them. He is cool as ever on the ball and he can still spring a counterattack in under a second. His pinpoint distribution is probably the best of any keeper in the EPL. That definitely hasn't changed.
There is a lot of room for improvement. He is still quite young and could be the first choice keeper for another ten years easily if he wanted to be. That said, he needs to see a psychiatrist and get this season and whatever was going on in his brain out of there and refocus on his game. He needs to get back to the game that made him the star he used to be, the one that won a couple golden gloves.
I'll finish this with my two cents (or pence for you blokes across the pond) on those who want to sell him. Look at what happened without him. Sure we didn't lose and Jones did well to come in, but he looks more nervous than a heathen in church with the ball at his feet and it cost a soft goal. Doni had one good game against Fulham, but still looked extremely shaky in his other appearances, one of which didn't last very long (although not all his fault). Reina's presence is half the reason Liverpool had such a great defensive record this year. Without him, we would have seen a lot more soft goals and a lot more frustration.