I have written on here previously regarding how, in save percentage terms, Brad Jones should possibly be Liverpool’s goalkeeper ahead of Pepe Reina (whose form has declined year-on-year at Anfield).
In the Premier League this season, Jones has saved 69% of the shots he has faced whilst Reina has struggled and only saved half of the attempts on target that have come his way.
But the modern game, and especially Brendan Rodgers’ penchant for a passing, possession based football, requires a keeper to offer more than simply stopping shots.
With regards to passing, the Spaniard is streets ahead of his Australian colleague.
This season in the league:
Passing accuracy – Reina 73%, Jones 58%. The back up goalie has the lowest figure in the Liverpool squad.
Passes forward – Reina 67%, Jones 82%. The highest figure in the Reds’ squad belongs to Jones, and this is indicative of the fact that he prefers to go long with his passing rather than play sideways balls to his defence.
Long balls – Reina has attempted 83 (48% of his total) at 48% accuracy, whilst Jones 46 (69% of his total) at 43% accuracy. This suggests that Reina knows when to go long, whilst Jones uses a ‘hit-and-hope’ approach a little too regularly.
When you look at the stats, it seems obvious why Roy Hodgson bought Jones to Anfield in the summer of 2010; a decent shot stopper who is not afraid to clear the ball into the opponent’s half is manna from heaven for the current England manager.
As Rodgers is currently struggling to implement his system whilst also getting results, it seems clear that Reina’s ability to play out from the back will give the gaffer a better chance to do both, and hopefully Pepe’s time out of the team has enabled him to get his head straight and get back to his best.
The sooner the better, as far as Rodgers is concerned.