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Reina Penciled in for Spanish Start

Pepe Reina has missed Liverpool's last two matches, but with Iker Casillas unavailable he is expected to start for Spain as their World Cup qualification campaign gets back underway.

Alex Livesey

Despite the fact that he has missed the last two Liverpool matches with a thigh strain picked up in training, Pepe Reina has joined up with the Spanish national team and is expected to start in both of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

"Everything indicates that I will play, but I won't change my attitude because Iker [Casillas] isn't here," Reina told AS. "I'm always excited and prepared. Not everybody that is called up is lucky enough to play. Only 11 play, but being called up by your country is an honour."

Spain are set to take on Group I trailers Finland on Friday, the Nordic country sitting alone in last place and with only one point to show for their qualification efforts so far. On Tuesday, though, a match against France should pose a much tougher test for the defending world and European champions.

Meanwhile, with Casillas out, the man who has covered for him at Real Madrid will now replace him in the national team. For Diego Lopez it will mean a rare chance to travel with the Spanish squad, but the chance to travel and train with them is expected to be the extent of his involvement.

"Diego is playing so well," said Reina of the Madrid man. "He has been decisive in many games and he is a Real Madrid-quality goalkeeper, without doubt. But in the national team it is the manager that makes the decisions."

As for any lingering rumours that he could depart Liverpool in the summer, Reina insisted that such talk was little more than "rumour mongering" and that he's "happy at Liverpool."

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