It’s remarkable to think Alisson could claim a successive Premier League Golden Glove awards this season despite missing nine games through injury.

The Brazilian boasts 12 clean sheets from 23 league outings to stand just one short of current leader Nick Pope with six games of the season remaining as he looks to become only the fourth multiple-winner of the award.

Now an English, European and World Champion at Anfield, the 27-year-old has firmly cemented his status as the best goalkeeper on the planet in his two years on Merseyside and left the Reds’ goalkeeping woes from yesteryear a distant blur.

Something of a problem position in the Premier League era, David James, Sander Westerveld, Jerzy Dudek, Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius have all seen repeated errors cost them their starting roles.

The one exception is Pepe Reina.

And when you look at the Spaniard’s career you can’t help but feel a little sorry for the shot-stopper that he is not regarded as highly as he deserves, for he could quite easily have matched each of Alisson's achievements with the club.

This weekend marks 15 years since he joined Liverpool in a £6m move from Villarreal and he could make a return appearance to Anfield when the Reds take on Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.

Prior to Alisson’s arrival on Merseyside, Reina was Liverpool’s undisputed best goalkeeper in the Premier League era.

Recording an impressive 394 appearances during nine years at Anfield, he won the Golden Gloves award in each of his first three seasons at the club as well as breaking the club-record for successive clean sheets in his first campaign in England.

He overcame individual errors in the 2006 FA Cup final to be the hero in the Reds’ penalty shootout victory over West Ham United, while he also a European Super Cup, Community Shield and League Cup winner during his time at Anfield.

Pepe Reina lifts the FA Cup, 2006
Pepe Reina lifts the FA Cup, 2006

But while Alisson is a treble champion and already a club legend, Reina arguably fell just short despite his Anfield longevity.

The Reds lost to Sao Paulo in the FIFA Club World Cup final in his first season at the club, while although he was the hero in the 2007 Champions League semi-finals against Chelsea to send the Reds through to the final in Athens, the Spaniard was unable to prevent his side losing to AC Milan.

Meanwhile, he was star performer as Liverpool narrowly missed out on the Premier League title in 2008/09 before Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s catastrophic ownership of the Reds ended any chance of further success for Reina.

A loss of form following Rafael Benitez’s departure in 2010 didn’t help his legacy, while a vocal desire to return to Barcelona before being forced out the exit door by Brendan Rodgers also soured relations.

After failing to earn a return to Camp Nou in 2013, he was sent on loan to Napoli as Liverpool narrowly missed out on the Premier League title in his absence, before signing for Bayern Munich the following year as his Reds career ended with a whimper despite promising so much more.

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But Reina’s career has been one that promised more than he ultimately delivered despite representing some of the continent’s biggest names.

Breaking through at Barcelona alongside Victor Valdes on the eve of the Catalan giants’ modern dominance, he was briefly the club’s first-choice goalkeeper at the start of the millennium before losing the jersey to his compatriot.

At Bayern Munich he found himself unable to usurp Manuel Neuer. At AC Milan he couldn’t topple Gianluigi Donnarumma.

And while he was first-choice for Napoli, the Neapolitans always fell narrowly agonisingly short of Juventus during Reina’s time at the club.

Meanwhile, on the international stage, he was a member of the famous Spain side that won the World Cup and two European Championships, but was little more than a glorified cheerleader with Iker Casillas the well-established number one.

Spain's Jose Reina celebrates victory at the 2010 World Cup in the Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Spain's Jose Reina celebrates victory at the 2010 World Cup in the Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Now 37-years-old, the Spaniard has hinted he could retire as he finishes the season on loan at Aston Villa and finds himself in an unfamiliar position of fighting against the threat of relegation for the struggling Villans.

Prior to the Premier League’s suspension, Reina had looked forward to returning to Anfield with his temporary club, hoping for a warm return after his backdoor exit robbed him of a fitting farewell.

But he has found himself behind Orjan Nyland in the pecking order since football restarted, while he’ll again be denied the hero’s reception he deserves with matches taking place behind-closed-doors thanks to Covid-19.

Reina will be able to look back with pride when he does eventually hang up his gloves, but his career has certainly been curious.

Popular with fans and team-mates alike wherever he goes, you won't find a colleague who speaks badly of him.

But when first-choice, the greatest prizes evaded him. When claiming success, he watched on from the bench.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. He is not the Liverpool legend he should be, falling short of the likes of Ray Clemence, Bruce Grobbelaar and now Alisson.

Pepe Reina has always been the right goalkeeper. But unfortunately for him, it was nearly always at the wrong time.