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Rafael Benitez keen to offload outspoken Albert Riera

Albert Riera (left)
Riera's only appearances since January have come in the Europa League

Liverpool plan to let Albert Riera leave the club next month following his criticism of manager Rafael Benitez.

Riera, who joined for £8m from Espanyol in August 2008, claimed the club was a "sinking ship" and that Benitez does not communicate with the players.

The 27-year-old has a Russian wife and Liverpool are considering loaning him to a Russian side before their transfer window closes in early April.

"We are working with different clubs to find a solution," Benitez said.

Riera, who is anxious to secure a place in Spain's World Cup squad, described last week how he thinks Benitez has something "personal" against him and is "turning a deaf ear" to his players.

"He's never sorted out a situation with a player by talking with him," Riera told Spanish radio station Marca.

Reports later claimed that Riera had been suspended by the Anfield club.

My aim is to go to the World Cup and for this I have to be playing

Albert Riera

PA Sport said the Spaniard had been disciplined by Benitez and told not to return to Liverpool's Melwood training ground until Monday.

He missed the Europa League second leg victory against Lille and did not travel to Old Trafford for Sunday's Premier League match with Manchester United, which Liverpool lost 2-1.

The Reds are now sixth in the Premier League and are battling with Tottenham, Manchester City, and Aston Villa to finish fourth and thereby qualify for next season's Champions League.

Riera's only two appearances since January have been in Europe, and his exclusion from the side for Premier League matches has prompted him to consider offers from two clubs in Russia.

"I would like to spend my whole career here [at Liverpool], but we players live to play," said Riera. "My aim is to go to the World Cup and for this I have to be playing."

During an interview for Marca, he described Benitez as an aloof figure who has little relationship with his players.

"When the coach says nothing to you and you are well, with no physical problems and training well, you cannot help but think it must be something personal," he added.


"If I'm doing something badly and you are my boss, and you value me, then you are going to come and tell me what I have to do to play again. This is what hurts me.

"You see that the team are not doing well and there are no changes. It's a little frustrating because you see that you can help.

"I've been here two years and I know how he [Benitez] is. He has never sorted out a situation with a player by talking with him," stated Riera.

"He thinks he's in charge and everything else falls on deaf ears. His dialogue with the players is practically nil."

Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann gave Benitez his backing and criticized Riera for creating an unnecessary distraction.

"I always had a very professional relationship with Benitez," the German told BBC Radio 5 live. "If Riera is not in the team at the moment, he is probably not doing enough in training or in games when he did play.

"The last thing they need is these comments in the papers. They have a massive eight or 10 weeks ahead of them. They have to stick together because they can still win the Europa League and they can still finish fourth."

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see also
Gerrard eyes strong end to season
26 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
Riera tries to calm Benitez row
19 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
Riera confident of top-four place
19 Feb 10 |  Liverpool
Reds must stick together - Riera
11 Nov 09 |  Liverpool
Riera delighted to join Liverpool
04 Sep 08 |  Liverpool

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