PEPE REINA has accepted responsibility for Steaua Bucharest’s equaliser in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw last night – but complained of a laser pen being shone at him from the crowd in the first half.
Manager Roy Hodgson sent out a much-changed side containing several inexperienced players and they returned a creditable draw following Milan Jovanovic’s 19th-minute strike.
That could even have proved the winner had Reina not let Eder Bonfim’s tame header squirm through his legs and over the line.
Nevertheless, a point was still enough for the Reds to move to the round of 32.
Reina said: “I thought one of their players was offside for the goal but I’ve watched replays and it’s my fault. It’s my mistake and I have to handle that and get through. He was definitely obstructing me, but I definitely should have reacted much better than I did.
“I will handle the mistake and improve.”
Replays showed that Liverpool defenders coming back from the byline played Steaua’s attackers onside but Reina did have justifiable cause to complain about the laser.
A similar incident affected him in the qualifying round of the Europa League when Liverpool went to Turkey to play Trabzonspor.
“The laser was a real pain,” said Reina.
“It had nothing to do with the goal but it was even stronger than it was in Trabzonspor.”
Reina remains happy with his side’s qualification from Group K and also praised the younger players – including the likes of Martin Kelly, Danny Wilson, Dani Pacheco and Jonjo Shelvey – for earning the point for their side.
“We have to give them some credit because we made a great effort,” he added. “We have players out there with not much experience and they showed great character and helped us get the point we needed.”