Pepe Reina
Reina has joined Napoli on a season long loan deal. (Reuters)

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed he never intended to allow Pepe Reina to leave the club on loan instead insisting his plan was to offload the shot stopper on a permanent basis.

The Spanish goalkeeper passed a medical to complete his season long loan move to Napoli on Thursday evening along with Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, who was signed from Real Madrid for a fee of £34.5m, with the pair set to be formally presented by the club on Monday.

The arrival of Simon Mignolet from Sunderland earlier in the summer provided a clear indication that Reina's position as the club's number one custodian was under severe threat, but Rodgers has revealed he expected the Spaniard to leave Anfield well before the Belgian international's arrival from Wearside.

"From last season, really, as a manager I was led to believe that we were going to get an offer for Pep that would probably see him leave the club," Rodgers told Liverpool's official website.

"On the football side, we have to protect the team, and at that stage we started our search for another goalkeeper.

"That found us Simon Mignolet, who's top class - one of the top young European goalkeepers. As events transpired, that move (for Reina) didn't happen and it left us with two very good goalkeepers. Both would have been fighting for the No. 1 position.

"Then obviously an opportunity arose for Pepe and it was one we felt as a football club was best for him to take."

Reina will be reunited with the man who brought him to English football in 2005 in Rafa Benitez at Napoli, who has set about building a formidable squad capable of challenging for the Serie A title following his appointment earlier this summer.

After being heavily linked with a move to replace Victor Valdes at the Nou Camp, who announced his decision to leave the Catalan giants next year earlier this summer, Reina is facing a battle with the Barcelona goalkeeper for the lead understudy role to Iker Casillas in Vicente Del Bosque's Spain squad ahead of the World Cup next summer.

With Rodgers favouring Mignolet, who has his own battle for a spot in the Belgium starting XI with Chelsea loanee Thibaut Courtois on his mind, the decision to allow Reina to leave the club will benefit all parties, says the Liverpool boss.

"As a senior goalkeeper, he needs to be playing. It's a very important year for him with the World Cup next year. It wouldn't have served any purpose, both for the club and him personally if he had been the one missing out.

"It's decided he will go to Napoli and we've got two very good goalkeepers still at the football club."