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Reina battling to overcome injury

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina will be given until at least Friday evening to prove his fitness for his side's Premier League clash with Reading on Saturday.

• Blog: Cautious optimism over Anfield

Reina, 30, suffered a hamstring injury during Spain's 1-1 draw with France this week, but Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has played down the severity of the complaint.

"We'll wait another 24 hours to see how he is. It's nothing overly serious - he felt just a slight twinge in his hamstring at half-time in the game," Rodgers said.

"I met him here last night about 7.15pm. All of our players coming back from international duty come here [Melwood] to be assessed and reported before they go back home.

"We had the checks on him and he had a scan this morning. It's not overly serious, but we just need to weigh up the risk in the next 24-48 hours.

"Speaking to Pepe last night, he very rarely has any muscle injuries, but hopefully it will prove not to be serious."

Brad Jones will make his first Premier League appearance this season if Reina fails a late fitness test, with Rodgers placing faith in Liverpool's second choice 'keeper.

"It's good for us that if he [Reina] can't play, we've got Brad Jones who has made a fantastic improvement since the beginning of the season and shows up every day of his life very well here," Rodgers said.

"So if Pepe can't play, we've got an able understudy who can come in and do very well, I'm sure."

Aside from Reina and Fabio Borini [broken foot], the remainder of Liverpool's international players returned from duty unscathed and Rodgers is confident of having the club's big names at his disposal this weekend.

"They've all been fine. Luis [Suarez] and Sebastian Coates are not back yet because it is a lot of travel," Rodgers said. "They were playing in Bolivia and they will report back later this afternoon.

"Apart from that, I've spoken with Steven [Gerrard] and Glen [Johnson] this morning. They got back in the early hours of this morning and are recovering. Daniel Agger and Martin [Skrtel] are recovering as well.

"The mentality within the camp is very, very good and we're really looking forward to getting going again at the weekend."


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