Villarreal goalkeeper Pepe Reina has confirmed that he is on the verge of joining new European champions Liverpool.

“It’s not closed yet, but I can’t deny that I’m very close to signing for Liverpool,” the 22-year-old told a news conference in Villarreal on Thursday.

“The deal between the two clubs needs to be finalised but it’s likely that it will be closed very soon.”

Reina was called into the Spain squad for the first time earlier on Thursday, replacing Santiago Canizares.

“I didn’t want to say anything until the season was over,” said Reina. “But it didn’t seem right to leave without saying goodbye to the fans if it all goes through.

“It will hurt me to leave home … but this is a good opportunity for me, both in sporting and financial terms, and will also provide an important injection of funds for the club.

“If the deal is finally closed I hope people will understand my decision given that I will be signing for the reigning European champions and for a team like Liverpool. It had to be something very big for me to leave Villarreal.”

Reina will become the sixth Spaniard to join Liverpool since former Valencia coach Rafael Benitez took charge of the club at the start of the season.