The Pepe Penalty Myth

This article on Squawka looked at whether or not Liverpool have made a mistake in loaning out Pepe Reina. One particular line caught my eye:

“Napoli fans and team-mates will love that Reina is a good penalty saver”

It made me think; Reina arrived at Anfield in 2005 with a fantastic reputation for saving spot kicks, having kept out seven of the nine he faced during his final season with Villareal. Yet I can’t recall him saving too many for the Reds, so is the above quote accurate or not?

My first port of call was the excellent lfchistory.net. This showed me that Reina has saved just four in all competitions (excluding shootouts) in his eight years at Liverpool, with only two in the last five seasons. But that had no record of how many he faced, so I had to dig a little deeper.

I learned here that 79% of penalties in the Premier League have been scored in the past ten seasons, and so I had that in mind when compiling Reina’s figures.

The below table shows that Liverpool’s opponents have scored a slightly above league average percentage of their penalties when facing Pepe Reina:

ImagePerhaps Pepe isn’t so imposing from twelve yards after all. Yet when I think back over his time at Anfield, I realise that the Reds have won both domestic cup finals, plus a Champions League semi final, in shootouts with Reina between the sticks. Compiling those figures shows he has a remarkably good record in this form of penalty contest.

ImageI could only find records for international penalty shoot outs (here), but the conversion percentage drops on average to 75% (presumably due to the increased pressure the taker is under when the weight of their country is on their shoulders).

However, just four of twelve penalties have been converted against Reina in shoot outs, when statistically you would expect nine. Five saves is an impressive tally, and boosts his record at Liverpool considerably.

Combining the two reveals that 67% of penalties have been scored against Reina in the league and shootouts, which is lower than would be expected on average. But even so, Pepe has ‘only’ saved eight out of thirty-nine, so I’m not sure he is such a great penalty saver after all. One for Napoli fans to watch next season, I guess, but I suspect Reina’s reality can’t quite match his reputation.

Related posts you might like:

Jones and Reina Comparison – Their 2012/13 stats suggest Liverpool may have loaned out the right GK.

Is Mignolet The Man To Replace Reina? – The stats suggest so…

The Truth About Pepe Reina’s Errors – A stat regarding Reina that is doing the rounds on Twitter is way off the mark.

The Decline of Pepe Reina – The Spaniard’s save percentage has been on a downward slope since his first season…

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2 thoughts on “The Pepe Penalty Myth

  1. Then…didn’t you just know he would save that one against Mario?! My thoughts have been much like yours for a long time regarding Reina’s reputation over penalty saves..

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