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Pepe Reina expected to start despite dealing with the flu

Napoli's goalkeeper is not at 100% today.

Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Don't be surprised if Pepe Reina doesn't look as sharp or even as communicative as normal -- the Spanish goalkeeper is apparently dealing with a nasty bout of the flu right now. Despite that, however, Reina is still expected to start in goal for Napoli against Chievo Verona on Saturday.

Apparently it was bad enough that both Rafael and Gabriel were told to prepare for the day as though they were going to start the match, but Reina was cleared to play late in the day. It wouldn't actually have been the worst thing in the world to let Reina rest -- Chievo's attack is much better than it has been in years past, but the Flying Donkeys are still not that intimidating an attacking side.

As it is, Reina will be goal and both fans and Maurizio Sarri should keep a close watch on him. If by halftime it's looking like he's struggling, Napoli's first substitution must be to get another goalkeeper in there. The flu messes with so many things key to a goalkeeper's job -- concentration, spatial awareness, reaction speed -- that there's zero margin for error here, especially with the importance of this match for Napoli.