Steven Gerrard’s all star second testimonial was, in many ways, a chance for Liverpool’s current captain to say goodbye ahead of his summer move to MLS. However, it was also a chance for a number of ex-Reds, many of whom never really got to when they left the club, to say their own goodbyes.
"Emotional," was Pepe Reina’s response when asked about his experience on Sunday afternoon when he got the chance to run out on the Anfield pitch again. "It was great to be back, a chance to say goodbye to these lovely fans and a big, big thank you for all of those years I was here for. It was always going to be emotional."
Reina’s departure from Liverpool was a slow and painful one for fans and the player alike, with loans dragging it out and plenty of pointed fingers. For many, when the end finally came, Reina had managed to damage his Liverpool legacy. For some, though, it was Brendan Rodgers and FSG that came out looking worse.
All of that, though, was forgotten for Reina on Sunday just as it was for the likes of Luis Suarez and, perhaps most surprisingly, Fernando Torres. In the end, reservations were set aside and the fans said a proper goodbye to players they hadn’t had the chance to, and everybody went home with the requisite warm and fuzzies.
"I feel very proud and lucky to have represented Liverpool during my career," added Reina. "I’ll always be grateful to this city and the club. I have to thank Stevie and Carra for organising the came. Not just for me, but also for the reception Fernando, Luis, and Xabi all got. It was a great day for us."