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Albert Riera attempts to downplay Liverpool FC broadside

by Richard Buxton. Published Fri 19 Mar 2010 11:24, last updated: 19/03/10

Liverpool winger Albert Riera has tried to calm down the row which has left his Anfield future teetering on the brink.

Ahead of the Reds' Europa League clash with Lille, the former Espanyol winger made a series of scathing attacks in Spanish radio interviews against manager Rafael Benitez, who has banished the 27-year-old after he claimed the club was a "sinking ship".

Reports of an alleged training ground bust-up with a promising Anfield youngster have surfaced this morning in light of Liverpool suspending Riera with the player under strict instructions not to return to training until Monday.

However in an interview with Cadena Ser radio, Riera has tried to diffuse the furore surrounding his outburst on Radio Marca 24 hours previous.

He said: "I have no interest in making Rafa my enemy.

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

"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."

Benitez, meanwhile, has admitted he was disappointed by the timing of Riera's outspoken attacks on him and the club in the lead-up to last night's last 16 tie.

Goals from Steven Gerrard and a brace from Fernando Torres sent the Reds through to the quarter finals but the Kop boss was not happy with the timing of his compatriot's outburst, especially ahead of Sunday's crucial visit to Manchester United.

Benitez said: "The timing was very bad for the team and for the club because we were in a crucial moment.

"I was really disappointed with this but we will deal with it internally.

"The team is doing well and we have to approach the [United] game with confidence."

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"Riera has been really lousy so far, so I understand why he hasn't played. Stop punch your team mates and be a cry baby - do what Rafa asks!" GoHome, Sweden around 5 years, 4 months ago

"Rafa deserve it for being a rubbish mgr. There r many good players in e team, but Rafa is just not e person to bring e best out of them." Rafaisshit, Singapore around 5 years, 4 months ago

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