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Rodgers Hopeful Reina Can Regain Fitness for Southampton

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Liverpool face a string of important games that on paper appear winnable, but if Pepe Reina can't return quickly from the thigh strain that kept him out against Spurs it could be a blow to their hopes.

Laurence Griffiths

Liverpool's next four matches see the club take on Southampton, Aston Villa, West Ham, and Reading. With three of the four sides currently in or on the fringes of the relegation zone, it's a stretch that on paper at least should see the Reds heavy favourites to take maximum points.

With Liverpool free of any European or cup commitments to worry about, it also means that Brendan Rodgers will free to select his strongest eleven without concern for managing fitness. Whether the eleven he will be free to select this weekend when they travel to face Southampton will include Reina, though, isn't yet certain.

However, while Rodgers is hopeful his starting keeper will be available, the Liverpool manager isn't entirely certain whether or not the calf strain that kept him out of Sunday's match against Tottenham will allow him to play on Saturday.

"It was disappointing because we thought he would probably make it against Tottenham," said Rodgers when asked about his number one. "He had a tight calf in a fitness test on Sunday morning and unfortunately for him he didn't come through it. So I hope by next week he'll be fine."

Fortunately for Rodgers and Liverpool, after a disappointing showing in the FA Cup against Oldham on his last outing, Brad Jones turned in a capable performance against Spurs more reminiscent of his outings earlier in the season when he was forced to fill in for Reina.

Still, it's difficult to imagine the manager and fans wouldn't be more confident of continuing the club's recent run of good results with Reina between the sticks, and all will be hoping for a speedy recovery.

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