Reina: 'Exciting times' ahead at Anfield
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina has labelled the rest of the season an "exciting time" after back-to-back victories helped to lift the gloom from around Anfield.
Contrasting wins over Wolves and Fulham have lifted the Reds into seventh in the Premier League, their highest position all season after the worst start since 1953/54. They are now only six points behind fifth-placed Tottenham and Reina believes they can look ahead to the rest of the campaign with confidence.
"It's an exciting time and we still have half of the season remaining so there are a lot of points at stake,'' he said. "We want to get as high as we possibly can in the league. It is really competitive and we have to keep this up. And we still have the Europa League to come (Liverpool face Sparta Prague in the last 32).''
After successive wins and clean sheets Liverpool have a weekend off because of the FA Cup - which they exited at Manchester United 24 hours after Kenny Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson. But although the squad will be given time off to recover from a run of seven games in 26 days Reina knows they cannot afford to allow their momentum to stall. It is therefore crucial they get a result when Stoke visit Anfield on Wednesday, especially with a trip to Chelsea coming the following Sunday.
"We will enjoy some time with our family and then it is back to work to get ready for the next game,'' he told Liverpool TV. "Our target is another three points against Stoke. It is always a tough game and it's always a nightmare to face the (Rory Delap) long throw which is one of their main strengths. But we will only worry about our own strengths and worry what we do.''
The week between games may give midfielders Lucas Leiva and Jay Spearing enough time to overcome injuries. Lucas missed the win over Fulham because of a hamstring strain while Spearing has a small fracture of a bone in his foot. Neither is expected to be sidelined for long, with Dalglish admitting they could have been pressed into action against the Cottagers had it been entirely necessary.
"Lucas may have been able to play but I didn't think it was worth it and there was there was no point because we have Christian Poulsen to fill in there,'' he said. "Jay could also have played but there was no point in risking him because if it got worse he would be out for six to eight weeks so we tried to minimise the amount of time they will be out.''