Hodgson irked by Reina rumours

Under-fire Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has branded media reports of Pepe Reina being linked with a move to Manchester United as "disappointing and annoying."

The Spanish goalkeeper – defined as "a lifeblood of this team" by the Liverpool boss - is believed to be a target for Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer as he hopes to find a long-term replacement for ageing goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar at Old Trafford.

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Hodgson, however, is adamant that the club has no intention of selling the 28-year old shot-stopper, with Premier League rivals Arsenal also said to be interested.

Reports have implied that Anfield’s two Spanish stars, Reina and Fernando Torres, hope to activate an escape clause in January in their contracts in order to leave the Merseysiders.

But Hodgson is confident that the two World Cup winners will remain at Liverpool for a long time to come.

"It was just one of those stories that seems to occur, it's just disappointing and annoying.

 Pepe is fantastic here, he is a lifeblood of this team
," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"Everything he does around the club is excellent, he is always lively in the dressing room, he is always first class in training and he always wants to do more to improve.

 He demands better from those around him, he is always pushing people on. He is a player who we hold in the highest esteem.

"We have heard nothing from Manchester United and, more to the point, we don't want to hear anything from Manchester United. 

If Ferguson is looking around at the end of the season and he has got lots of money to replace Van der Sar, he might very well want Pepe Reina because he is the best around.

"But we do not want to sell him. I would like to think that we are going to become a successful club once again and Pepe is crucial to that."

Reina signed for Liverpool in 2005 when Rafael Benitez described him as "the best goalkeeper in Spain."

He has since lived up to that billing and has become something of a cult hero after making 191 outings for the Anfield club.

By Elliott Binks