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Liverpool's Albert Riera tries to calm Rafa Benitez row

Riera's only appearances since January have come in the Europa League
Riera's only appearances since January have come in the Europa League

Liverpool winger Albert Riera has attempted to play down his outspoken criticism of Reds boss Rafael Benitez.

"I have no interest in making Rafa my enemy," Riera told Cadena Ser, although he did repeat his claim that Benitez had "something personal" against him.

Riera, 27, had earlier said Liverpool were a "sinking ship" and was then told not to return to the club until Monday.

"The timing was not the best for the team and we will deal with this internally," said Benitez on Thursday.

Benitez was particularly angered by the fact the interview overshadowed his side's preparations for the crucial Europa League clash with Lille, which they went on to win 3-0.

Riera is desperate to be a part of Spain's World Cup squad in South Africa and is concerned that his lack of playing time is damaging his chances.

The Spanish international has made just one first team start since January, and was reportedly transfer listed and fined for his initial outburst against Benitez.

"Ultimately it is about playing, and if I am not, we have to talk about why not," said Riera.


"I do not want to make trouble with the manager, quite the opposite, but we have not had any talk about why it is.

"I played all of last year, and sometimes if I did not play so well in one game, I would still play the next week. But this season I have not played at all.

"When that starts happening, you have to assume it is something personal, rather than professional.

"I believe in these situations it is better to talk about it and try to fix it, or at least make sure everyone knows where they stand. I have no problem talking to people."

Riera made 40 appearances for Liverpool last season but has been restricted to 16 this term.

"I am delighted to play for Liverpool," said Riera, who joined the club from Espanyol in the summer of 2008, "If I was playing, I would love to stay, because it is a brilliant place to play football.

"But if I am not playing I have no chance of going to the World Cup, so I am trying to solve the problem so I at least have a small chance."

Russian clubs CSKA and Spartak Moscow are reportedly keen on Riera and could make an immediate move for the player after the Russian transfer window was extended to 8 April.

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see also
Liverpool keen to offload Riera
26 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
Benitez relieved to see off Lille
18 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool 3-0 Lille (agg 3-1)
18 Mar 10 |  Europe
Liverpool 4-1 Portsmouth
15 Mar 10 |  Premier League
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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