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Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 10:07 UK

Hyypia shocked at Reds omission

Sami Hyypia
Hyypia has made 446 appearances for Liverpool during a nine-year spell

Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia has admitted he faces an uncertain future at Anfield after being left out of the club's 25-man Champions League squad.

New Uefa regulations mean clubs have to include at least eight home-grown players in their squad.

The 34-year-old Finn said: "The manager's decision to leave me out of the squad is a big disappointment.

"I understand it's partly because of the Uefa regulations, but the news came as a surprise to me and a shock too."

The Finland international was subject to a bid from Stoke City during the summer, but Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez wanted to keep hold of him.

Benitez has defended his decision and explained the reasons why Hyppia was omitted.

"It was really difficult decision, but we had to do it," he told the club's official website.

I would understand if this rule came in for the Premier League, but not for the Champions League

Rafael Benitez
"With the rule saying that you need more or less eight British - or local - players in the squads, we needed to decide which three centre-backs to have for the Champions League."

Hyypia, who has made 446 appearances for the Reds since signing from Dutch club Willem II in May 1999, hopes he still has a future on Merseyside but admits that had he known about Benitez's decision earlier, he might be playing his football elsewhere this season.

"The club had a 'perfect' timing for this," he added.

"They didn't want me to move elsewhere, so that's why I was told the news of having been left out, just after the transfer window had closed.

"The club went public to say there had been offers for me, but turned them down. So perhaps that means I am still part of the plans for this season.

"I don't know if I would have wanted to move on had I heard news about the squad when the window was still open."

Uefa rules state that four players in the 25-man party must be produced by the club's own academy, while four others can be produced by an English academy.

Established names Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, along with 19-year-old midfielder Jay Spearing and right-back Stephen Darby, 19, make up the contingent from Liverpool, while the other four players are Robbie Keane, Jermaine Pennant, 17-year-old versatile defender Steven Irwin and 18-year-old defender Martin Kelly.

Benitez also vented his frustration at the new rule and said it should not be used in European competition.

"Clearly I think it is a mistake," he added.

"When you play in the Champions League, you need the best players you have on the pitch. It is not about where you are from, it is about the best players.

"I would understand if this rule came in for the Premier League, but not for the Champions League."

Liverpool begin their Champions League campaign away at Marseille on 16 September and will also face PSV Eindhoven and Atletico Madrid in a tough group.

Should they progress beyond the group stages, clubs can submit a revised squad list prior to the knockout rounds in the new year.

Liverpool's 25-man Champions League squad:
Cavalieri, Reina,Dossena, Agger, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carragher, Degen, Darby, Kelly, Irwin, Skrtel,Gerrard, Reira, Alonso, Benayoun, Pennant, Mascherano, Leiva, Spearing,Keane, Torres, Kuyt, Babel, Ngog

see also
Hyypia signs new Liverpool deal
07 Apr 08 |  Liverpool
Hyypia rising to the challenge
04 May 01 |  Worthington Cup

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